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Romans 1:29 – 31

[B]eing filled with all unrighteousness, wickedness, greed, evil; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, malice; they are gossips, slanderers, haters of God, insolent, arrogant, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, without understanding, untrustworthy, unloving, unmerciful.

Paul is describing a wretched group of people here. First, he shows the malevolence with which they are filled and then he tells us how those things manifest. He begins with “they are gossips” and then goes on through some pretty atrocious attributes. It strikes me that he begins this list of horrible characteristics with gossiping. One would think Paul could have headed his list with something more diabolical than gossip. But maybe, just maybe, gossiping is much more treacherous that we thought. Otherwise, why is it even included in this list? It is keeping pretty bad company.

Most of us recognize the other items in this list and most of us would denounce them. But how many would say that gossip is a real problem and denounce it? How many of us would balk at a gossiper as we would a hater of God or an arrogant, boastful inventor of evil? You see, God is showing us in this passage that the same unloving attitude that makes one an evil hater of God is that which causes us to gossip. Gossip is malignant and creates discord and strife in the body of Christ. It is a big problem as evidenced by its inclusion in this verse. Paul wished to cut it off in the churches to which he ministered. We, therefore, need to be mindful of gossip as well.

Gossiping is not really frowned upon in our society as can be easily evidenced by watching any reality show. They are all about drama and gossip. How many other television shows are completely based on gossip or gossiping? Quite a few. This general acceptance in our society makes it difficult for Christians to recognize the danger of gossip. It even cloaks when Christians are participating in gossip because it does not stand out anymore. And it seems that no one is immune to either the lure or the effect of gossip. But gossip is very damaging to the body of Christ.

Thus, we must all be vigilante to police our words and root out gossip from our lives. As Ephesians 4: 29 instructs us, we should only speak those words which are good for edification. And when we find ourselves trapped in a conversation which turns to gossip and running others down, we must find ways to extricate ourselves. It is best for us when we are around others who are using their words for edification rather than for tearing apart. And maybe as we make an effort to remove ourselves from gossip, others might be influenced as well. Take this message from Paul to heart and be mindful about the things you say and help others grow in their use of language too.

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