• The Pardonable Sins - Part 3

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THE PARDONABLE SINS - PART 3

By Barry Cameron
May 12, 2017

We’re in a four-part series dealing with THE PARDONABLE SINS: the sins some people, including Christians, don’t really think are sins. In fact, sometimes they even encourage others and offer comfort when they commit them.

So far we’ve seen two of the FOUR PARDONABLE SINS, at least in the eyes of some, WORRY and UNFORGIVENESS. Today, we want to focus on the third:

GOSSIP

Novelist and playwright, Baron Edward-Buller Lytton once said, “The pen is mightier than the sword.”

Words.

Words can hurt or heal, burden or bless, put down or pick up, destroy or develop, separate or bring together.

Words can cause us to doubt or believe. They can divide us or unite us, motivate or devastate, encourage or discourage. Thrill us or kill us. Words can help us accomplish the impossible or make everything we try to accomplish impossible.

Whether we soar like eagles or crash and burn depends on the words we hear and the words we speak.

You’ve heard the saying, “Don’t believe everything you hear.” Yet most people are prone to believe anything they hear, and the more bizarre, tragic, juicy, sordid and sick a story is, the more some people seem to like it.

The Bible warns: “Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear” (Ephesians 4:29). Solomon said, “The words of a whisperer (gossip) are like delicious morsels; they go down into the inner parts of the body” (Proverbs 26:22).

WHAT IS IT ABOUT BAD NEWS THAT’S SO ENTICING AND ATTRACTIVE? Some people are so miserable themselves they feel better when they hear others are miserable, too. Some are so jealous of the success of others, they actually love it when people who appear to have gotten all the breaks are suddenly broken. Others have nothing better to do with their time. Some have a need to be the center of attention and like to have the latest scoop to share. Others are walking in the flesh and not by the Spirit of God.

We need to be careful WHAT WE HEAR and even more careful WHAT WE SAY. Last week we saw in Proverbs 6:16-19, there are SEVEN THINGS God hates. THREE of them have to do with the TONGUE.

1. A lying tongue.

2. A false witness who pours out lies.

3. One who sows discord among brothers.

The TONGUE is the #1 enemy of Christian unity and can be a huge hindrance to your spiritual growth. There’s an entire chapter in the Bible (James 3) devoted to taming the tongue and James warns, “No human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison” (James 3:8). Solomon describes that poison in detail in Proverbs 26:17-28.

Whether we soar like eagles or crash and burn depends on the words we hear and the words we speak.

HERE ARE SEVEN REALITIES ABOUT GOSSIPS:

1. Gossips are usually people who talk too much and to too many people (Proverbs 10:19).

“When words are many, transgression is not lacking …”

2. Gossips break confidences and divulge secrets (Proverbs 11:13).

“Whoever goes about slandering reveals secrets …”

3. Gossips shatter friendships and relationships (Proverbs 16:27-28).

“A worthless man plots evil, and his speech is like a scorching fire. A dishonest man spreads strife, and a whisperer separates close friends.”

4. Gossips bring trouble to churches (1 Timothy 5:13).

“Besides that, they learn to be idlers, going about from house to house, and not only idlers, but also gossips and busybodies, saying what they should not.”

5. Gossips ignite quarrels and stir up strife (Proverbs 26:20-21).

“For lack of wood the fire goes out, and where there is no whisperer, quarreling ceases. As charcoal to hot embers and wood to fire, so is a quarrelsome man for kindling strife.”

6. Gossips burn themselves, others and leave carnage wherever they go (James 3:5-6).

“So also the tongue is a small member, yet it boasts of great things. How great a forest is set ablaze by such a small fire! And the tongue is a fire, a world of unrighteousness. The tongue is set among our members, staining the whole body, setting on fire the entire course of life, and set on fire by hell.”

7. Gossips are malicious (slanderous) in their intent (2 Timothy 3:3).

Gossip is communicating with malicious intent. Whenever our intent and desire is to hurt someone or harm them in the eyes of others, or to elevate ourselves by tearing them down, that’s gossip.

John MacArthur said: “Gossip is often thought of as being relatively harmless, but at best it is unkind, harmful and ungodly. Malicious gossip is a sin of an even more evil and destructive sort. Whereas the irreconcilable person tends to disregard and neglect others, malicious gossips make a point of harming others. Whether to promote their own interests, to express jealousy or hatred, or simply to vent their anger, they take pleasure in damaging reputations and destroying lives.

Malicious gossips translates diabolos, which, even to the person unacquainted with Greek, suggests the severity of this evil, with our English derivative ‘diabolical.’ Diabolos means ‘accuser’ and is used thirty-four times in the New Testament as a title for Satan. Engulfed and blinded by self-love, malicious gossips do the very work of Satan.” 1

THE CHARACTERISTICS OF A GOSSIP:

1. They are out of fellowship with the Lord.

2. They have an agenda based on their own personal adversity.

They aren’t happy with themselves, so they aren’t happy with anyone else. You’ve heard the saying, “Hurting people, hurt people.” It’s really true.

Their unhappiness usually comes from one or a combination of the following:

a. Physical: they are out of shape or experience some kind of physical sickness or infirmity.

b. Financial: they are under stress due to money problems, a dead-end job, or the fact they can’t seem to make progress.

c. Marital: they are unhappy at home.

d. Emotional: they aren’t happy with anything and don’t want anyone else to be either.

3. They are jealous. So they lash out at others.

4. They are intimidated by godly people. So they attempt to make them appear less godly by malicious gossip, criticism and slander.

5. They are harboring a grudge and it’s metastasized into full-grown bitterness.

6. They are insecure and think no one cares what they have to say. So they try to have the latest and greatest news hopefully to appear important.

7. They’ve never been taught gossip is wrong.

James 1:26 says if you don’t keep a tight rein on your tongue, your religion is worthless. Galatians 5:15 warns that gossips will inevitably destroy themselves and everyone around them unless they are stopped.

HOW DO YOU HANDLE A GOSSIP?

1. Christian courtesy (2 Timothy 2:24-26)

Don’t let anyone use your EARS for TRASH CANS.

2. Compassionate confrontation (Matthew 18:15-17)

“Why don’t we get on our knees and you lead us in prayer for ____________?”

3. Courageous cut-off (Romans 16:17)

“Watch out for those who cause divisions and create obstacles contrary to the doctrine that you have been taught; avoid them.”

Before you share anything, ask yourself these questions: Is it necessary to share this? Is this confidential information that could possibly hurt someone else if I share it? Will this help build up the body of Christ? Will this bless and benefit the person who hears this? Does this person need to know this? By sharing this will I help solve the problem or make it worse? If what I’m about to say was on the evening news, would I want my name attached to it and my friends and family to see and hear it? Would Jesus prefer me to just keep my mouth shut?

WHAT SHOULD WE DO IF WE STRUGGLE WITH THE SIN OF GOSSIP?

1. Confess it (1 John 1:9).

“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”

We need to confess it to God, not other people. Remember, you’re trying to break the habit of sharing the news with others.

2. Renounce it (2 Corinthians 4:2).

“But we have renounced disgraceful, underhanded ways. We refuse to practice cunning or to tamper with God’s Word, but by the open statement of the truth we would commend ourselves to everyone’s conscience in the sight of God.”

3. Count yourself dead to it (Romans 6:2).

“By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it?”

Chuck Swindoll shares the story in his book Hope Again, of a classic grave marker in jolly Old England that reads: “Beneath this sod, this lump of clay, lies Arabella Young, who, on the 24th of May, began to hold her tongue.”

Don’t wait until you’re dead to address this sin. GOSSIP is not The UNPARDONABLE SIN. We can receive forgiveness. But the Bible says the only way we can be pardoned is if we confess it and repent of it.

GOSSIP is a SIN.

NEXT WEEK: PART 4

© 2017. Barry L. Cameron

1 2 Timothy. John MacArthur. The MacArthur New Testament Commentary. Moody. Chicago. 1995. Pg.115

BARRY CAMERON

Senior Pastor

Barry L. Cameron has been the Senior Pastor of Crossroads since 1992 when the church was averaging 188 in morning worship. Today, more than 8,000 people call Crossroads their church home. Pastor Cameron and his wife, Janis, have three children and two grandsons. He’s the author of the bestseller: The ABCs of Financial Freedom, Contagious Generosity, and The Financial Freedom Workbook. The Cameron family has been completely debt free since November 2001.

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