Have you ever been devastated because of the words that came out of someone’s mouth? How about someone who you thought was a dear friend? I’m sure we all have & I’m also sure we’ve also said the words that did the damage. If you never have, you are perfect. James 3:2 says we all stumble in many ways. Anyone who is never at fault in what they say is perfect, able to keep their whole body in check.
Gossip is probably the biggest destroyer of all time. It’s deadlier than the nuclear bomb. It’s destroyed homes, broken up marriages, started wars, destroyed friendships, made life unlivable between neighbors and divided churches. It keeps many unbelievers from seeking the Truth because of the destruction they see going on with Christian believers. It turns many away from the house of the Lord who are seeking answers to life.
Most church divisions aren’t caused by adultery, drunkenness, fornication, drug use, robbery or lust. The careless words of the Christians are the cause of most division & strife. All of us have been guilty & we shouldn’t beat ourselves up about it if we’re willing to repent. However, we do need to be aware of the words we use. Gracious words are like a honeycomb, sweetness to the soul and health to the body. Proverbs 16:21 Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer. Psalm 14:19
Many words are used in the Bible to express the sin of gossip. They all differ a bit in their meanings but the end result is the same – destruction. Other terms used are backbiter, whisperer, busybody, complainer, murmurer, slanderer and talebearer.
A backbiter is one who speaks behind someone’s back. The Greek word is defined as defamation and evil speaking. What they say isn’t necessarily a lie but it’s still behind their back. The first question that should be asked if the person was present, would you still be saying it? The accusations are made outside of the accused’s presence. Psalm 15:1-3 Lord who may abide in Your tabernacle? Who may dwell in Your holy hill? He who walks uprightly, and words righteousness, and speaks the truth in his heart; he who does not backbite with his tongue, nor does evil to his neighbor. Nor does he take up a reproach against his friend.
In Romans 1:28-32, we read that backbiters are listed among several sins, one of which is murder. It goes as far as saying that they are deserving of death. And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a debased mind, to do those things which are not fitting; being filled with all unrighteousness, sexual immorality, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, evil-mindedness; they are whisperers, backbiters, haters of God, violent, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, undiscerning, untrustworthy, unloving, unforgiving, unmerciful; who, knowing the righteous judgment of God, that those who practice such things are deserving of death, not only do the same but also approve of those who practice them. How many execution dates would you have if you were sentenced of the crime of backbiting? I dare say that they would be building gallows for all of us if charges of backbiting were enforced. As it says in this Scripture, they are haters of God. Does this describe you? Are you a hater of God? Or do you desire instead to abide in His tabernacle?
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