Friday, 30 April 2021
Title: Eschew the sins of gossip and slander
Writer: Richard YW Yeoh

Verse: Matthew 12:36 ESV
“I tell you, on the day of judgement people will give account for every careless word they speak …”

Years ago, I read an article that left a lasting impression on me (I was a young Christian then).
The writer postulated that gossip and slander are serious sins which he described as akin to committing murder with our tongues. The Bible admonishes us to be careful not to sin in our speech lest judgement befalls us.

In the book of Proverbs, King Solomon reminds us viz.
“A gossip betrays a confidence, but a trustworthy person keeps a secret” (Prov 11:13 NIV) and,
“A perverse person stirs up conflict, and a gossip separates close friends” (Prov 16:28 NIV)

A common justification is to say “it is true!” Be that as it may, is it edifying to speak ill of others even if there is truth in it? Especially if it is not our business at all?

Paul also frequently cautions us on this in his warning against discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, slander, gossip, arrogance and disorder” (2 Corinthians 12:20b NIV)

We must be careful not to utter words that can hurt relationships and tarnish reputations even if we believe the information is true as we often do not verify what we hear nor do we always know all the facts concerning a matter. This is especially true in the present days when stories spread like wild fire in social media.

Words once uttered can never be recalled. A careless word can cause irreparable harm to a relationship whether amongst family members, friends or church brethren.

Gossip and slander is uncharacteristic of Christians. We know the damage it does. It can even cause dissension in church and divide the body of Christ.

How might Christians cope with gossip?

Here are some ways:

  1. Proverbs 17:9 tells us to overlook an offense and not be unduly affected by loose talk.
  2. Avoid gossipers and do not encourage them by showing interest in their gossip
  3. Admonish gossipers in private and in love as many do not realize the harm of their habits.
  4. Guard our hearts and our tongues.
    Let our words be edifying, constructive and encouraging to others and of others. Avoid speaking ill of others especially when it is of no concern to us or the persons around us. Indeed we will feel at peace in the joy of the Lord if we abstain from this unwholesome habit.

Father God, teach us to be peace makers and people builders. Help us to eschew bad habits like gossip and slander. Instead help us to speak well of others and be people encouragers. Help us to walk with you Lord, in humility and forbearance and help us not to judge others as we would not wished to be judged. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.