Proverbs 16:24 “Gossip”

Devotional by Pastor Joshua Hall; Faith Presbyterian Church, Quincy, IL; June 18, 2020.

Coronavirus Devo 24

Good Morning, Brothers and Sister!

Today we continue our series of devotionals on the themes from the book of Proverbs by examining the theme of gossip.

If you have your Bible, follow along with me as I read Proverbs 16:28 from the English Standard Version’s translation of the Bible and consider this teaching on gossip.

“A dishonest man spreads strife, and a whisperer separates close friends.”

Let us pray…

Last time we talked about lies. And many lies are lies we tell about others. Many lies are gossip. But today we need to consider the Biblical teaching about gossip itself. For the consequence of gossip is broken relationships. Loneliness, it has been said, is the modern plague of American, and indeed, it was the only thing which God called ‘not good’ in the entire Genesis narration of creation. God himself said that it was not good for man to be alone. So he created woman, he created community, he made us relational people. God wants us to be one big, happy family. But there is a problem. Gossip.

Today’s text does not use the word gossip. But it describes it. “A dishonest man spreads strife.” Beloved, do you know someone who spreads strife? Do you know someone who does not work for peace and harmony, who does not deal directly with those who offend them? That person is dishonest. For those who spread strife are dishonest. For honesty is all about protecting truth for the sake of building trust. But those who spread strife destroy trust. So even if they use truth to stir up strife, they are being dishonest.

The text goes on, “a whisperer separates close friends.” Beloved, whatever you whisper to someone about another will divide them. And all who divide are doing the destructive work of the devil! If your words are designed to put dirt on someone else, if what you say is designed not to comfort or to bring peace, but rather, to separate some people from supporting or loving other people, you are acting wickedly. Repent!

To my deep shame and regret, I have often spread strife. I have often participated in the whispering which separated close friends. Most of the time, I did not understand what I was doing when I did it. Most of the time, I just enjoyed sharing how someone else had sinned so that I could feel better about myself. But my selfishness destroyed some of the beauty of friendship and fellowship and peace which God freely gave to those whom I divided. 

Beloved, we all sin daily in thought, word and deed. If you disagree with me, then you disagree with the confession of the church throughout the ages, and more importantly, you disagree with 1 John 1:8-10: “If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.” Now some will say that these verses are written to unbelievers calling them to admit their former sins and place their faith in Jesus for the first time. After that, they argue, the mature believer does not need to admit to ongoing sin because he or she has worked on their behavior and attained moral perfection. But John disagrees. All who say today that they have no sin call God a liar, and they do not have God’s Word, Jesus Himself, in their hearts! So beloved, I pray that you will join the Christian chorus, that we sin daily in thought, word and deed, and are daily in need of the cleansing of Jesus Christ and of the indwelling work of the Holy Spirit that we may bear fruit for God and not for evil!

Beloved, I may not know how I have sinned today, but I believe God’s Word, and I freely admit that I have sinned today. So how do I go on living as one who recognized his sins daily? I cling to the cross! I trust in Christ! I ask God daily to forge my sins as I forgive those who have wronged me. And I ask the Holy Spirit daily to fill me with the fruit of the Holy Spirit. Because I want to serve the Lord! And believe me, brothers and sisters, the Holy Spirit does not spread gossip! 

Anyone who slanders their brother or sister, who spreads rumors or lies, who participates in gossip, is acting as an enemy of God. That person is not acting out of the fruit of the Holy Spirit, but is living by their own power. 

Now we better not go around telling people who is a gossip! That would be hypocritical! But if you hear gossip coming from another, the right thing to do is to point out their sin. We should not tolerate any unhealthy talk about another. 

And today, we should all ask God’s forgiveness for the times we have participated in gossip and in dividing the church. We should ask God to give us the love of Christ in our hearts which would stand up against gossip and slander and speak words of peace, truth and reconciliation. And when we do, we should give God the glory, for we know that this fruit is from the Holy Spirit. For our hearts cannot love like this. Only God working through us can be a blessing to others in speaking the truth in love. And this pleases the Lord.

Let us pray…

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