"So, what can I do to guard against Gossip"?
Beware of Missing the
The results of gossip being spread and not adequately being dealt with; especially by the leaders, creates an atmosphere of distrust. Once the leadership of the youth group, youth leaders, student leaders or or church people are causing discontent, not only are they missing the mark that Christ has for us, but they create such an untrusting atmosphere that the true believers cannot confide with counseling matters, nor do they mature adequately. This is a lesson for all of us; we all have skills and issues that we all need to work on with our spiritual walk with the Lord. I do not believe we as Christians will ever strive to full perfection, nor does God call us to be totally perfect. But what God does call us is to be our best. And when we refuse to grow, and we keep making the same mistakes over and over again all that we're doing is hurting Christ, His people and ourselves.
The Bible gives us clear direction and how we are to keep our mouths in His direction, that is God's direction not our own. Proverbs gives us many verses that shows our human weakness and fallen state that seeks out the destruction of each other instead of building each other up as God desires us to do.
If you still are not sure what is gossip and what is not, use this simple formula or acronym to give you the nudge: THINK!
T-THINK, (Proverbs ) Think before you speak! Are you? Intelligent people think before they speak, so what they say is persuasive. Pause before you open your mouth and engage your mind. And if you are, is the information TRUE? If the information is not true, then dispose of it. If you are not sure of its validity, then check it out with reliable sources! If a person keeps spreading the slander, then seek out the pastor and or leadership in charge.
H-HELPFUL, (Proverbs ) is it? Will the information be an encouragement, and blessing to the person, you are sharing about, or sharing to? If not, then do not share it, unless it is necessary to protect someone. Such as telling the church leadership that someone is gossiping and refuses correction.
I-INSPIRING, (Proverbs 24:26) is it? Will the information convict someone in a biblical way, and in a positive way? Will the information be uplifting? If so than give it, if not then do not, don't do it!
N-NECESSARY, (Proverbs ) is it? Does the person need the information, or do you need to tell it? If it's the telling, then it is of no worth! Don't do it! Always speak the truth!
K-KIND, (Proverbs ; 25) is it? Will the information be kind to the person, so in turn you will be kind in giving it?
If you cannot honestly justify your message to this acronym, then do not say it! Instead try to say something encouraging, from your heart, And always if in doubt then PRAY!
"When we put bits into the mouths of horses to make them obey us, we can turn the whole animal." (James 3:2)
James in this verse is communicating to us that with a small piece of hardware we can control a large animal, so why not put control on our own mouths. Without such a piece of hardware, a bridle, we would not be able to control a horse. In a similar way when we put the control of our mouth in the hands of Jesus and in turn surrender our will and desire to do slander; then we can be a great blessing to those around us, instead of being a hindrance.
The willingness to come before God and seek forgiveness is paramount. The willingness to ask God for help in controlling our mouths is by the book: God's book! "Help me Lord to keep my mouth shut!" (Psalm 141:3 LB)
If you are a typical American you can be expected to say over 30 conversations a day; that is saying over 20,000 words a day for a man, and 30,000 words a day for a women, and for the typical pastor; let's not go there! You will spend 1/5th of your life talking, and you can fill 66 books each with 800 pages in a typical year! So we need help. And as Christians, God's Word and Prayer are the only valid means of our tongues salvation! Yes we need help!
The tongue can be a force to spread the good news as it was meant; however, it too often is the force of evil in our youth group and churches. It can be so evil and so good. The same tongue can be a Billy Graham, or the cast of "Real World" on MTV. The tongue can say I love you and I care for you, and it can say I hate you. It expresses the love and hate, and the praise and contempt of our soul. So watch it and guard it, or the pew you sit in will be empty!
The gossip itself may not last, because if it is false, time will unravel it. Damaging information should never be spread. The only exception is if it's true AND is essential for someone's protection. That is, you hear someone's boy friend has a gun and is looking for Suzy, then gossip away to the police and Suzy! But if it's someone's acne problem, keep it to yourself
With the control of our tongue, we will be able to say no! I will not spread that false information! A single word can condemn or glorify. It can ask, will you marry me, and say I do, and then it can divorce us from those promises. The action is what you make of it and whose control your will is in! The actions of our gossip will not only effect the others we try to harm but will boomerang back to hit us! And continue like a disease and infect our whole being. The richness of encouragement or the destruction of gossip are yours to command, but beware we will all be held accountable for our actions! Yes there is Grace, but make no mistake the importance of responsibility!
Discussion Questions: (Just have an open group Discussion on these two questions and if time on T.H.I.N.K. or save "Think" for another time)
1. The question is who has control of your tongue?
2. Whose direction are the words and actions that come from your mouth aimed to?
When we get to heaven we will be with a lot of X-hypocrites!
Copyright 1992, 2000, Rev. Richard Joseph Krejcir, Into Thy Word