“You Are Not Going To Believe What I Heard”

“You Are Not Going To Believe What I Heard”

By Henry Nelson

 

 

 

Proverbs 11:13   “A gossip betrays a confidence, but a trustworthy man keeps a secret”  The other day someone tried to engage me in a gossip session but God was with me and just then another coworker walked up and I left them to talk. However, I did wondered why they wanted to share this negative information with me. So this is how this message came to life. Have you ever wondered when conversations are gossip and when they are acceptable conversations? The difference is in motive and accuracy. Ephesians 4:15 says, “Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into him who is the Head, that is, Christ.” Amen! One struggle that people have is that they believe that “not gossiping” means ceasing to having any conversation about people and what’s going on in their lives. Most of us cannot do this and for good reason; people are a huge part of our lives. The good news here is that stopping all conversation about people is not what God is asking us to do. {{more}}You need to examine the accuracy of the information as well as your motives in telling the story. Myself I am concerned accuracy, if you are not sure about the truth of the story that should be enough to stop us from sharing it. If it is something that you were concerned about because someone that we love is involved, you should proceed not by sharing the unverified story, but by going to the person in question and sharing our concern. “I heard this and I wanted to make sure it was not true.”For some people, though, the presumption is that if the accuracy of the information is confirmed, then sharing it is not gossip. “I’m just telling the truth,” they’ll say. But there’s a second factor at play and that is the motive we have in sharing the story. Even if a story is verified to be true, if we are sharing it with the motive to hurt the person, to taint their reputation, or just because we want to be the first to share the juicy news, our motive is bad. Here is an example. Let’s say I have a friend named John who has told me he is getting a divorce even though he’s only been married 6 months because his wife had an affair on him. Scenario #1: My heart is broken by his pain and by the knowledge that I have that marriage is a sacred covenant before God and therefore divorce pains Him. In my private prayer time, I shed some tears for John and his pain. Later that day, I see Francine a mutual friend of John and myself and I share the news with her: “John shared with me that he is going to be getting a divorce. If you get a chance to talk to him, I think he could use a shoulder to cry on.” Notice I did not share the salacious but unnecessary details about the affair. Notice also that I shared accurate information with a motive of helping John, not hurting him. Scenario #2: Having found out about John’s divorce, I am quick to share every detail with everyone from our workplace that I can talk to. My facts are accurate, but my motive is impure and my actions hurtful to John.So, it’s important that we both be sure that our information is accurate and that our motive is pure. Those two factors make up the difference between gossip and appropriate conversation. Have you ever thought about why do we Gossip? I think it is because we love our insider status more than we love people. James 3:1-6 says,” Not many of you should presume to be teachers, my brothers, because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly. We all stumble in many ways. If anyone is never at fault in what he says, he is a perfect man, able to keep his whole body in check. When we put bits into the mouths of horses to make them obey us, we can turn the whole animal. Or take ships as an example. Although they are so large and are driven by strong winds, they are steered by a very small rudder wherever the pilot wants to go. Likewise the tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts. Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark. The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole person, sets the whole course of his life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell.“ Amen! We seldom think about the implications for the person we are gossiping about. Our thoughts are usually on being the first one to spread the news so that we will get credit for being “in-the-know” and others to share their gossip with us when they have got some.The simple but hard truth is that we are raising ourselves up by stomping others down. The simple but hard truth is that we are enhancing our own image without consideration that others must foot the bill. The simple but hard truth is that we are willing to destroy others’ reputations and lives in order to improve our standing.You may wonder why you should change your words. Obviously, what you just read about a moment ago hints at one good reason. That is you should love people more than your insider status, but there are other reasons that directly apply to us.As Christians you have to realize that everything you say is being recorded.” Matthew 12:36-37 says,” But I tell you that men will have to give account on the Day of Judgment for every careless word they have spoken. For by your words you will be acquitted, and by your words you will be condemned.” I do not mean that Big Brother is watching. I mean that God in heaven misses nothing. And Jesus tells us here that we are accountable for every word that we say. Amen!If you have been in a room and had someone pull out a cassette recorder or a video recorder, you know that you act differently when you know that you’re being recorded. Any lawyer can tell you that people answer questions differently when they know the stenographer is recording every word they say for the court record. You need to realize that we are also being “recorded” as God watches over us and notices your words. You have to understand that a loose tongue equals a useless religion.” James 1:26 says,” If anyone considers himself religious and yet does not keep a tight rein on his tongue, he deceives himself and his religion is worthless. Amen! When I was finishing my Master’s Degree, the last test you had to take was your “Oral Exams.” This was where you sat in a room with three of your professors and they could ask you about anything that had ever been brought up in any of your classes. You had no notes there in the room with you. You had to rely on your preparation and your memory. And, so, the “Orals” were the last and hardest of the tests before graduating. In James 1:26 there is a similar idea that the way you handle your tongue represents one of the most difficult tests of the maturity of our faith.Many Christians divide sins up into the “really bad ones” perhaps murder, adultery, homosexuality, etc. and the “not so bad ones” perhaps envy, pride, materialism, gossip, etc. The sin of gossip is deemed excusable by many folks who consider themselves to be mature Christians. These verses speak against that and point out the seriousness of the sin and the reality that it is a test of spiritual maturity.Proverbs 6:16-19 says, “There are six things the Lord hates, seven that are detestable to him: haughty eyes, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood, 18 a heart that devises wicked schemes, feet that are quick to rush into evil, a false witness who pours out lies and a man who stirs up dissension among brothers.” Amen! This speaks of things that God hates and the last (and in the Hebrew that makes it the point of emphasis is someone who sows discord among brothers. When we stir up trouble within the church with our gossip, we are putting ourselves in the line of the wrath of God.What do you do when you are approached with gossip? Here are some possible responses: Can I quote you on this? This is a good way to stop gossip. Those just interested in sharing gossip will balk at being quoted.You know, what I like most about [that person] is. “This is offered by Beth Moore as a good way to stop gossip. When it’s obvious by the direction of the conversation that the person’s intent is to tear someone down with gossip, short-circuit the gossip by throwing out your favorite thing about the person in question. As previously stated, the gossip is more interested in the story than the person the story is about, so this serves a wake-up call that you aren’t interested in tearing them down. If you want, after you’ve made your statement, you can ask them, “What do you like most about that person?” Have you talked to that person about this?” This comes out of Matthew 18:15 says, “If your brother sins against you go and show him his fault, just between the two of you. If he listens to you, you have won your brother over. Your first step when there is sin involved is to go confront the person about it, not gossip behind their back.” Now you know how to deal with gossip. Amen!