Many people recognize this Bible passage. It is taken from Romans 1, which, in my Bible, is the most marked and highlighted and worn section. I have already read from it in the John Calvin Bible Commentary app, and the only other passages I have read on that app are Genesis 1, John 6, and Romans 9. This passage is usually used to handle to particular sins: Homosexuality and Idolatry. On the rare occasion that the topic of Gossip is approached, it is usually not taken to this passage.
However, if you study it carefully you can see that the sin of gossip can be handled from this passage more directly than just reading it from the list. As my youth pastor wisely pointed out some time ago, gossips are put in the same list as haters of God. They are also thrown in with inventors of evil, the faithless, the heartless, the boastful, the ruthless, and the insolent. This shows that the Lord does not take this sin lightly. John MacArthur noted,
"And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done. They were filled with all manner of unrighteousness, evil, covetousness, malice. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, maliciousness. They are gossips, slanderers, haters of God, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless. Though they know God's righteous decree that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them." (Romans 1:28-32, ESV)
"The joyless Christian reveals himself by having negative thoughts and talk about others, in a lack of concern for others welfare, and a failure to intercede on others behalf."
So why, brethren, do we give into this gossip? Why do we entertain those who gossip? I find no reason why. In fact, in deep studies of Scripture I find nothing but reasons not to. When I see a group of professed believers gossip, I am baffled and concerned. Particularly if it is about a brother. Some may be shocked to find how often that happens. Brethren, beloved, listen to me! This is not constructive. Not to that person, and not to the body. In fact, quite the opposite. I write this, brothers and sisters, in hopes that you will hear me. I remember numerous times when I saw believers, right before my eyes, talk about another Christ-follower. In fact, if I could number it I would have the best memory of anyone I've ever met. Only once have I seen a group repentance for that. This is the same sort of destructive speech condemned in Ephesians 4:29 (ESV),
"Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear."
My brethren, I have seen people that I deeply respect in recent times go into petty gossip about believers and unbelievers alike. I struggle with which one is worse. On the one hand, you are talking about your own brethren. My brothers and sisters, hear me! The same people, saved by the same God under the same grace! To be one body preaching one Gospel, with one Lord and one Salvation, given one baptism and one gift of Regeneration and justification. We have the same savior, beloved by the same God, and we still talk about one another in a cunning and cruel way, to joke about one another in their faults. If a brother stumbles, be it in pride or in profanity or in arrogance or adultery or any other sort of sin, do not gossip about them like the unbelievers do! These are your brethren. We cannot talk about Jesus and his glorious Gospel if we can not even stop talking about one another. Every moment we waste on gossiping about the faults of our brethren is a moment we waste instructing, encouraging, rebuking, correcting, edifying, and praying for our brother or sister.
Just as bad, if not worse, is when we gossip about the unbelievers. Leonard Ravenhill said this,
"Notice, we never pray for folks we gossip about, and we never gossip about the folk for whom we pray!"
Just as with the believer, every moment you spend on gossiping about the unbeliever is a moment you waste praying for them or preaching the Gospel to them.
Gossip is one of those sins that people tend to overlook. It is usually not the number one issue troubling everyone. The biggest battle for many is lying, or lusting, or hatred, or profanity. There was a time that I recall everyone I knew striving not to use God's name in vain. (While I know of a few who still strive for that, one sister in particular, such a thing has now faded away). I haven't had a single person tell me that they strive not to gossip. They simply did not think of the issue. If we read the book of Numbers, Chapter 12, we will see that Aaron and Miriam did not take the issue seriously either. When they had done it, Miriam was stricken with leprosy and forbidden from entering the promised land of Canaan.
I am concerned, brothers and sisters, about this epidemic that plagues the Church. We must strive to abstain from gossip. We must fight and kill this sin. Slay it in our lives. This is the sin that put Jesus on the Cross. We must remember that when dealing with this sin, as well as any and every other sin.
About the Author
Brandon C. Hines is a young writer from somewhere in northern Alabama who writes about Theology, Polemics, and Apologetics. His beliefs are best summarized by the 1689 London Baptist Confession.
You can search for various topics I have written about by going to Google and typing in a keyword, then typing site:Learningthepath.weebly.com after it.