Proverbs 16:28, “A perverse man sows strife, and a whisperer separates the best of friends”
Are you one who gossips about other people? If so, please take to heart the below story of a very happy family living in a small rural town in North Dakota, that was destroyed by an untrue story. The mother had not been well since the birth of her second baby, but everyone knew she did all she could to create an atmosphere of love in that home. The neighbors would see the father being met at the door each night with hugs and kisses from his beloved wife and two small children.
However, one day a certain person in the small town whispered that the man was being unfaithful to his beloved wife. The story was entirely without any foundation, but it began to spread like wild fire! Eventually it came to the ears of his beloved wife. Because of her weakened condition after giving birth to her second child, it was more than she could bear, and a few weeks later she suffered a mental collapse.
One evening when her husband came home, no one met him at the door as usual. The coldness and quietness of the house sent a chill of fear over his entire body. Soon the awful truth became apparent. His wife, sick and in despair, had taken her own life and those of her two children! The man was beside himself with grief. Later the lie was exposed, but it had already done its deadly work.
My beloved, there are wicked people in this world who allow their hearts to become the devil’s workshop, and some are those who claim to be a child of God. They are quick to start or spread lies. As believers in Christ, we must be doubly careful never to be guilty of the devastating sin of gossip.
In the year 1520, one person stepped off a Spanish ship in Mexico and caused the deaths of thousands of people. This man was a soldier under the leadership of Panfilo de Narvaez, who had smallpox, but didn’t know it, and wherever he went he exposed the citizens to a new disease. As a result of the ensuing smallpox epidemic, thousands of Mexican citizens died from the disease.
It only took one man. His contact with the unsuspecting Mexican people led to a very horrible, painful scourge. The devastating effect of that disease traveled from one person to another, infecting a large segment of the Mexican population. My brethren, the spread of any deadly disease is similar to the spread of a spiritual sickness that sometimes strikes churches, the disease of gossip and unedifying words (Ephesians 4:29-32).
The Hebrew word for “gossip” or “tale bearing” actually means “whispering that is damaging.” We fool ourselves into thinking that those juicy, whispered comments here and there are harmless. However, gossip leaves behind a wide swath of destruction and is never a victimless crime. Someone is always hurt. So here’s a word to the wise, “Where there is no talebearer, strife ceases” (Proverbs 26:20). So, each of us as a child of God, should be very careful not to spread the sickness of gossip. Instead, let’s use our words to strengthen and to encourage one another as stated in Psalm 71:24, “My tongue also shall talk of Your righteousness all the daylong” and another psalm says, “Talk of all His wondrous works!” (Psalm 105:2).
Destroy gossip by ignoring it.