Snakebite

Psalm 64: 8

So they will make him stumble; their own tongue is against them.

David wrote this psalm as a complaint against a group of people who were gossiping about and plotting against him. In the end, it is their own words and schemes which will trip them up. That is the way with gossip, the outcome of treachery.

You may feel vindicated if someone has been badmouthing you. Take solace in the fact that their words will eventually turn around and bite them. If you are prone to gossip, heed this warning. Gossip is like a snake, you may think you have it by the tale but it finds a way to turn and bite you.

For that matter, gossip just isn’t kind. Our Father is kindness, gentleness and goodness. It is hard to imagine that gossip would fit in with Him and if it doesn’t fit with Him, then it doesn’t fit with us. We are supposed to live our lives in Him, after all.

This psalm also reveals that the schemes and traps we plot against others, ensnare us. Again, great vindication if you have been the subject of such plots. Not such good news if you are the architect of schemes.

There is not grace, no goodness is talking about others or devising ways to trip them up. Our job is to show the love and mercy of God to everyone. It’s not always the job we would choose but it is the one to which we have been appointed by our Father. Let only good proceed from our mouths, O Lord.

Dangerous Language

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.