Lesson #3 ~ Gossip

Harnessing the Power of the Tongue

For the Glory of God

Key Verses:  Proverbs 18:21, Psalm 141:3, Psalm 19:14

Lesson #3 ~ Gossip

Prologue:  I was again surprised at how honest those in the class were at discussing their propensity to gossip.  I started off subtle though.  Can you think of a time when someone gossiped about you?  But here is the reverse:  Can you think of a time when you gossiped about someone else?  I read the definition for gossip out of the dictionary and added a bit from a couple of verses from the Proverbs.  Everyone realized that they have gossiped at one point and that it is a sin.

Have you ever talked about someone in a negative way when they were not around?

Do you think there is a gossip problem at Evanston?

I.  The Definition of Gossip

                A.  Exodus 23:1 ~ Spreading a false report.  Gossip can be a subtle form of lying and goes against the law of love.

                B.  Leviticus 19:16 ~ The word translated talebearer can also mean slanderer or scandal-monger.  Notice the context.  Verse 14 forbids harmful things to the deaf or blind.  Verse 15 forbids prejudice against the poor.  Verse 16 forbids gossip and slander.  Verse 17 forbids hatred in our heart against our neighbor.  Verse 18 is the second greatest commandment.  Gossip is breaking that commandment.  Do you want people gossiping about you?

II.  Warnings for the Church

                A.  II Corinthians 12:20 ~ All the things Paul did NOT want to find in the church.  How many are connected to the tongue?  James 4:1-3 traces these sins of the tongue to the heart.  Note:  In each lesson, I tried to include how the condition of the heart affects how we use our tongues.  Gossip can be traced back to a certain heart condition or conditions.

ESVKJVGreek WordMeaningsNotes
QuarrelingsDebatesErisContention, strife, wranglings 
JealousyEnvyingsZelosZealous, envious, contentious rivalry 
AngerWrathsThumosWrath, passion, anger, heat 
HostilityStrifesEritheiaElectioneering, partisanshipNote #1
SlanderBackbitingsKatalaliaDefamation, evil speaking 
ConceitSwellingsPhusiosisInflation, loftiness, pridePuffing up soul
DisorderTumultsAkatastasiaInstability, disorder, disturbanceNote #2

                B.  I Peter 2:1 ~ Gossip has a little sister named Slander. 

ESVKJVGreek WordMeaningsNotes
MaliceMaliceKakiaMalice, wickedness, evil 
DeceitGuileDolosDeceit, guile, craftCrafty
HypocrisyHypocrisiesHupokrisisPlay acting, dissimulation 
SlanderEvil SpeakingsKatalaliaDefamation, evil speaking 

                C.  James 4:11-12 ~ When you speak evil of your brother, you place yourself above him.  Note:  I got a little bit of negative feedback on this one.  There was one person in the class who seemed to want to justify saying something negative about other people.  The scripture here seems clear.  If you are critiquing someone, you are making yourself that person’s judge.  However, this passage goes even a step further and states when you do this you are making yourself a judge of the law, meaning placing yourself above the word of God.  Tough words here about something we all have done.

II.  What does a gossip do?  Note:  I cannot find a more comprehensive passage about gossip than Proverbs 26:17-28.  We broke this down verse by verse, but as a whole it has much to teach us.

                A.  Proverbs 26:17-28 ~ The Gossip and all that he/she does.

                                1.  Verse 17 ~ Does not mind their own business.

                                2.  Verses 18-19 ~ Says something hurtful, but then says it’s a joke.

                                3.  Verse 20 ~ Gossip starts arguments.

                                4.  Verse 21 ~ Arguments keep contentious conflict alive.

                                5.  Verse 22 ~ Dual meaning, gossip is like delicious morsels to those who love gossip, but for the person enduring the gossip, it is like wounds deep to the heart.

                                6.  Verse 23 ~ An earthen vessel was cheap and expendable.  To put a glaze over it would give the appearance of a quality drinking vessel, but underneath it was still cheap.

                                7.  Verse 24 ~ Gossip can sound pleasant, but it’s only a disguise.

                                8.  Verse 25 ~ When a gossip is speaking pleasantly, do not believe them because their heart has not changed.

                                9.  Verse 26 ~ Gossips will eventually be exposed, but we are warned about fakes.

                                10.  Verse 27 ~ Gossip will backfire on anyone who uses it.

                                11.  Verse 28 ~ Lies, flattery, and gossip are all destructive in nature.

                B.  Gossip can be factually true.  Sometimes it is information entrusted to you.

                                1.  Gossips tell, faithful friends keep quiet, ~ Proverbs 11:12-13

                                2.  Best of friends can be separated over gossip ~ Proverbs 16:28

                                3.  Love keeps quiet and covers for a friend ~ Proverbs 17:9

                C.  How to spot a gossip

                                1.  Look for the opposite of love in I Corinthians 13.  They are impatient, unkind (with words), envious, boastful, arrogant, rude, want their own way, irritable, resentful (holds grudges), glad when bad things happen to people they don’t like, doesn’t put up with things.

                                2.  Look for lots of words ~ Proverbs 10:18-19

                                3.  Their words destroy ~ Proverbs 11:9

                                4.  Fights and arguments break out around them ~ Proverbs 18:6-8

                                5.  Can’t keep secrets ~ Proverbs 20:19

III.  Examples in Scripture

                A.  David’s Friend turned gossip ~ Psalm 41:4-10, I Samuel 24:9, I Samuel 26:17-20, Psalm 9-title

                B.  I Timothy 5:9-16 ~ Women are to manage the home rather than be gossips

IV.  How can we stop the gossip?

                A.  How can we stop our own tongue from gossiping?

                B.  How do we handle others when they come to us with gossip?

                C.  How can we love with every single word we say?

Have fun and stay busy – Luke 19:13

-The Orange Mailman

Note #1 ~ Greek word eritheia which means electioneering, partisanship.  This word is found before NT times only in Aristotle where it denotes a self-seeking pursuit of political office by unfair means.

Note #2 ~ Greek word akatastasia which means instability, a state of disorder, disturbance, or confusion.  The root word akatastatos means unstable, inconstant, restless.

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2 Responses to Lesson #3 ~ Gossip

  1. Yves P. says:

    This series is a gold mine. Thank you for helping me become a better person.

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