Gossiping and taming the tongue
Four reasons gossip damages people ... and why you need to think before you speak
I was looking over my Teen Girls Bible Study program for my girls, and we were looking at the life of Miriam. The lesson's focus was on Miriam and Aaron’s gossiping (Numbers 12:1-9) about Moses. Some of the comments in this Bible study made me think a lot harder about what gossip really is and what it can really do.
The author of the study, Shannon Primicerio, raises a lot of interesting points. Here's a few of them:
Think before you speak
“Before we open our mouths to speak about anyone else, we must always ask ourselves two questions: Is what we are going to say true? And is what we are going to say edifying (i.e. does it build up or strengthen others)? For some reason, good news doesn’t spread as quickly as bad news. But one thing is certain: Gossip and talking about others behind their backs angers God.” Look at Numbers 12:3-9.
Gossip hurts others
In James 3:1-12, it says the tongue is “a world of evil”, that “corrupts the whole person”. How true these words are! Have you ever been the subject of gossip that has ruined your life? Anyone who has seen the movie Gossip must realise the truth in these words.
Your tongue is powerful
In James 3:5, James writes that the tongue is a small part of the body but "it makes great boasts". We do not realise that this small part of our body can make a heap of difference, especially when it involves talking about someone behind their back.
Ok, so maybe not everyone has been subject to life-altering gossip. However, everyone can be affected by gossip in so many ways. I am a part of a church that has had it's fellowship and community broken by gossip. I am also shamefully aware of the gossip I have spread of others. In verse 10 it says that out of the “same mouth” we praise God and call him LORD. How can these two opposites live in the same place? We must recognise that we use our mouths to praise and honour and glorify God. We must also recognise that gossip angers God (as seen in Numbers 12), and we must be able to stop ourselves before we gossip and damage the lives of others.
So what can be said of Gossip?
1) It can damage people.
2) In James 3, we recognise that even though the tongue is small, it can make a LOT of difference!
3) Our tongues should not and cannot be used to shame others, at the same time as glorifying God. Our tongues should be used to praise and honour and glorify God.
4) When we are talking about someone, we should always ask ourselves: Is what we are saying true? And is what we are saying edifying?