Gossip and the Sick Mind – (8,424 YouTube views to date) Romans 1:28-30 teaches there is something wrong with the mind of people who gossip and slander. They have depraved minds. The King James’ version says reprobate minds. We don’t think in those terms because we do not want to think our own minds are depraved. Think it or not, gossip and slander are depravities.
We are talking about LOCKING AND UNLOCKING THE TONGUE. My goal today is to try to help us all. I will try to do it by shaking us, not by making us shout. I want to remind you it was you who requested this study. So, do not get upset with me. I’m only the mailman. I am simply bringing you the word. I want to talk about gossip and slander.
LOCKING AND UNLOCKING THE TONGUE
By Pastor Delbert Young
Gossip and the Sick Mind
Scriptures: Romans 1:28-30, Leviticus 19:16, Leviticus 19:16, Genesis 37:2, Genesis 37:3, Genesis 37:4, Galatians 6:7, Ephesians 4:29-31, Matthew 12:37, Numbers 13:32, Matthew 12:34, Matthew 12:36
We do not take the sin of gossip and slander nearly as serious as we ought. The first thing I want us to see is gossip and slander are products of a depraved mind.
Romans 1:28-30 Furthermore, since they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, HE GAVE THEM OVER TO A DEPRAVED MIND, to do what ought not to be done. They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. They are GOSSIPS, SLANDERERS, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful; they invent ways of doing evil…
There is something wrong with the mind of a person who gossips and slanders. They have depraved minds. The King James’ version says reprobate minds. We do not think in those terms because we do not want to think our own minds are depraved. Think it or not, gossip and slander are depravities.
We tend to put sin in categories, with certain sins, such as homosexuality, molestation, adultery, pornography, etc. being at the top. We think these sins come from a depraved/reprobate mind and they do. However, God lists gossip and slander at the very top. To him, gossip and slander are BIG. It is close to blasphemy of the Holy Spirit. Remember, the context of blasphemy of the Holy Spirit is gossip and slander (Mat 12:31). God groups gossips and slanderers with murderers because they are. People who gossip and slander are mental. Their minds are sick. Stop for a moment and think of someone you know who gossips and slanders people. Now think about their mental stability. The truth is God will give you over to your own sick mind. Your mind will be sick and consumed with the person/people you gossip about and slander. Those thoughts will control your mind, not God thoughts.
Why does the Lord feel so strongly about the sin of gossip and slander? It is because gossip and slander, at its minimal, damages life like a blood disease.
(NIV) Leviticus 19:16 Do not go about spreading slander among your people. Do not do anything that ENDANGERS YOUR NEIGHBOR’S LIFE. I am the LORD.
Notice the Lord connects spreading slander with endangering a person’s life. The KJV makes it clearer.
(KJV) Leviticus 19:16 Thou shalt not go up and down as a talebearer among thy people: neither shalt thou stand AGAINST THE BLOOD of thy neighbour; I am the LORD.
Slander and gossip literally damage a person’s entire being – physically mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. The Hebrew word translated life (NIV), blood (KJV) is dam (Strong’s #1818). We find it 358 times in the Old Testament meaning blood. People who gossip and slander are a disease endangering life.
One of the many terms the Bible uses to describe gossip and slander is an evil report. It is what Joseph did to his brothers.
Genesis 37:2 …Joseph, being seventeen years old, was feeding the flock with his brethren… and Joseph brought unto his father their EVIL REPORT.
The Hebrew word for report is dibbah (Strong’s #1681) and means slander. Joseph maliciously talked to his father about the other sons. Joseph was with them in the fields shepherding. Maybe he saw some things done or heard some things said inappropriately. I am certain it was true. I am also certain Joseph added his own personal slant to what he said to his father. Have you ever done this? You gave an evil report about someone. Why did you do it? You did it for the same reason Joseph did it. The next verse gives us so much insight.
Genesis 37:3 NOW Israel loved Joseph more than all his children, because he was the son of his old age: and he made him a coat of many colours.
Isn’t it interesting the next verse after Joseph slandered his brothers says, “NOW Israel [Jacob] loved Joseph more than all his children…”? It was also after the slander, Joseph’s father gave him the coat of many colors. Joseph gossiped and slandered his brothers for personal gain. Joseph wanted his father to think higher of him than he thought of the others. Look at the very next verse.
Genesis 37:4 And when his brethren saw that their father loved him more than all his brethren, THEY HATED HIM, and could not speak peaceably unto him.
It was obviously an ugly situation. What Joseph said got back to those he slandered and they hated him! They did not want to talk to him and when they did, it was not peaceably. In other words, it was mean. The first opportunity they got, they threw him into a pit and sold him into slavery. They wanted and they got revenge. The brothers put goat’s blood on the coat and gave it to their father who wept, cried, and hurt. It was a horrible mess and all because Joseph slandered.
Joseph ended up in the home of an Egyptian official named Potiphar. I want us to see a principle in God’s word is so true.
Galatians 6:7 Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.
You might say it this way: “What goes around comes around.” The fact is what Joseph did to his brothers came around to him. Potiphar’s wife slandered Joseph. She said he attempted to rape her. She slandered Joseph. Potiphar put Joseph in prison. According to Thompson Chain Reference Bible, he remained in prison about 14 years. I know the story worked out for good, but this is because of God’s redemption and Joseph’s obvious repentance (Rom 8:28). Joseph never gave a bad report again.
My point is, this all happened to Joseph because he did not LOCK HIS TONGUE. What has happened in your life that could have been avoided had you locked your tongue? You may be in your self-made prison right now. Repent! Learn to LOCK YOUR TONGUE. If you will, God will move you to the palace.
We actually grieve God when we gossip and slander.
Ephesians 4:29-31 Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. And DO NOT GRIEVE THE HOLY SPIRIT OF GOD, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. GET RID OF all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and SLANDER, along with EVERY FORM OF MALICE.
People are a huge part of our lives. Most of life concerns people. Yet, we talk about people as if it is nothing. By so doing, we are breaking the heart of God. We grieve him. We talk about people who God loves, and often, people who love God. How do you feel when people gossip and slander your children who you love and who love you? This is how God feels. Joseph may have been Jacob’s favorite, but he was not God’s favorite. God loved the other boys the same as he loved Joseph. The fact is, if it is not positive (building others up), we should say nothing at all. If you do, you will find yourself in a prison of your own making. It will come back to you.
Matthew 12:37 For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned.
I think it is time we challenge gossip and slander instead of allowing or tolerating it. What grief would Jacob have avoided for himself and for Joseph had he said, “Joseph, you don’t need to be talking about your brothers.” When people gossip and slander around you, it is because they know they can. Joseph, because he was his dad’s favorite, knew he could get by with slandering his brothers.
I want to deal with another point about gossip. We say, “Well, I don’t gossip. I just listen to people because I don’t want to offend them.” You had better offend them! Do you remember the children of Israel when Moses sent the 12 spies to spy out the Promised Land (Num 13:17)? Ten came back with an evil report.
Numbers 13:32 And they brought up an EVIL REPORT of the land which they had searched unto the children of Israel, saying, The land, through which we have gone to search it, is a land that eateth up the inhabitants thereof; and all the people that we saw in it are men of a great stature.
This is the same evil thing Joseph did to his brothers – the same SLANDER. The ten went through the camp slandering. “Moses is going to get us killed. Giants are in the land. We are as grasshoppers. The cities have huge walls around them. There is no way we can fight them. And, you know Joshua and Caleb will do anything Moses says. I’m telling you, I saw it. If we go in there, we will all die.” The ten gave their evil slander. All the people did was listen. Do you know what it cost them? It cost them the rest of their lives. They never got their promised land. They died in the wilderness eating manna, when they could have held their promise and dream while eating the corn of the land. Don’t tell me it is ok to “just listen” to gossip. It will mess you up for the rest of your life. You could be living in your dream. Instead, you live in a wilderness prison of your own making. I am trying to tell you LOCK YOUR TONGUE and challenge an unlocked tongue that gossips and slanders. Joshua and Caleb challenged evil slander and they realized their dreams and lived long lives. In which group would you have been? Would you have challenged the slanderer or listened to it? If you listen to gossip now, you would have listened to gossip then. Most Christians will die in the wilderness because they will not challenge a gossip or slanderer.
Someone asked me, “Pastor, how do you know when to discuss someone so you can help them and know when it is gossip or slander?” First, the times it will help a person by discussing their situation are few-and-far between. Private matters should be kept private. You do not want people discussing your private issues. You should not discuss their issues. If you can’t help them, which is most of the time, then you are gossiping.
What if you have a friend or relative you know is about to make a bad decision because of their involvement with someone else. You want to warn them about this specific person. How do you do it without gossiping or slandering the person? Here is what I do. I ask, “Have you thoroughly investigated the situation?” I don’t just leave it there. I ask, “What homework have you done?” I ask, “Do you have in writing what the person says they will do?” I do not have to mention the person’s name or say what I know about them and neither do you. I was thinking about how there must have been a few Pharisees and Sadducees Jesus could have branded as bad news. Instead, he simply said, “Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees.” (Mat 16:6). The disciples figured it out.
So, how do we confront gossip without damaging a relationship we want to maintain? Once I was involved in a situation at the church. Someone called my wife and wanted to talk about it. My wife said she was not going to talk about it. The person said, “Can you just tell me something to tell people who are asking me?” Neither the person, nor the people asking, could help the situation. It was pure gossip. My wife said, “Call Delbert (me).” Isn’t this what the scriptures say? (Mat 18:15) Go to the person. Of course, I never got the call. Why? Because it was gossip.
You have to remember the best thing you can do for a person and for your own self, is to confront and stop gossip and slander EVEN IF it cost the relationship. It will poison you and the person like a blood disease. Your mind and their mind will become depraved and consumed. You are grieving the Holy Spirit by talking about people God loves. When the person discovers you discussed him or her, they will hate you and I don’t care how close you are to the person being discussed. Joseph was blood relation, but they hated him. I do not care if you are husband and wife, when the person finds out what you did, they will hate you. You, and the person needing confronting, will end up in a wilderness prison never realizing your dreams. It will affect you and the gossip for the rest of your lives.
Let me give you a few things you can say and do to confront the evil report. These will work if you are physically talking, IMing, e-mailing, cell-phoning, or any other way the devil uses for us to gossip and slander.
- Simply say, “We don’t need to be talking about this. God loves this person and our talking about this will not help.”
- Ask the gossip/slanderer if you can tell the person being discussed what he or she told you. You will see really quickly the balk of their next pitch.
- Find something good to say about the person slandered. Say, “Do you know what I like about _______?” You will see the person is more interested in the gossip than the person.
- Ask, “Have you talked to _____________ about this?” (Mat 18:15)
- Say, “This person is my friend and I will not tolerate your talking about him or her.”
Years ago, we had a series of meetings led by an invited outstanding preacher. On the last night of the meeting, another preacher came and stirred him up about a friend of mine. As he, my wife, and I sat eating our meal after the service, he began talking about my friend in the guise of concern, as do all gossips and slanderers. I saw where he was going with his unlocked tongue. I leaned forward. My wife saw me and was thinking, “Oh my!” I looked the man in the eyes and said, “_______ is my friend. I will not allow you or anyone else to talk about him in a negative way. You do not know the facts. You obviously listened to gossip. I respect you greatly, but we will not talk about this person.” He “craw fished” in an attempt to justify himself, apologized, and left the next day. Did it strain our relationship? Yes, it did, but gossip and slander must be confronted. Jesus did.
Matthew 12:34 O generation of vipers, HOW CAN YE, BEING EVIL, SPEAK GOOD THINGS? for out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh.
Jesus said they were poisonous snakes injecting poison into people with their slander and gossip. They revealed their filthy hearts and depraved minds with their filthy depraved words. Jesus told them everything they said was recorded. We need to remember this.
Matthew 12:36 But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment.
I have determined I do not want anyone else to hate me. I do not want any more prisons or wilderness. I want to see, hold, and live my dreams. I will not allow anyone to poison my life with gossip and slander. I want a good mind consumed with the Lord and love, not with thoughts caused by gossip and slander. How about you?
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