Sins of the Mouth
Slander, Blasphemy, Gossip
Today we are continuing our series of articles on Christian conduct. We will be covering the sins that come from our mouths. Sins like slander, backbiting, gossip and railing (speaking against) that run rampant within the church today. We will thoroughly explore this subject and what is expected from each and every believer in our daily lives. Yes, salvation is a free gift from God. (Ephesians 2:8) For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God. Yet, with this free gift from God comes responsibility on how we use this gift. Our responsibility is to bear the fruit of Jesus Christ. Without bearing fruit we ultimately prove in the end that we really have no salvation after all. (John 15:1) “I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser. (2) Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit. Bearing the fruit of Christ means we have the responsibility to manifest the attributes of Jesus Christ in our daily lives. When we bear this fruit, God continues to try us and test us so that we can manifest even more of Jesus in our daily lives. That is what today’s article is about. It is about helping you to understand how you should conduct yourself as a Christian believer and how we can bear the fruit of Christ.
What is slander and where does it come from? The Greek word for Slander is diabolos which according to Vine’s dictionary means to “accuse falsely.” Did you know that of the 36 verses where this word is used in the New Testament, 33 of them this word diabolos is translated “devil”? You are of your father the devil, and the desires of your father you want to do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own resources, for he is a liar and the father of it (John 8:44). This scripture speaks of diabolos as the devil or the slanderer who does not stand in truth but speaks lies. Slander works on the principle that the more people the slanderer can tell the lie to, the more likely it is to be believed.
In this study we will look at the slanderer within the body of Christ; those who call themselves “Christians” but speak as the devil. We should not concern ourselves with those outside the body of Christ because without Jesus in their lives, why would they not act like the devil? It is our lives and the body of Christ in which we want to examine in order to see if we are doing according to the will of God.
For look! The wicked bend their bow; they make ready their arrow on the string, that they may shoot secretly at the upright in heart (Psalm 11:2). This is what slanderers do within the body of Christ; they are ready at any moment to secretly speak and attack others behind their backs. They never have the nerve to speak these words to their faces. This “character assassination” is always done in secret and is always intended to tear the other person down.
You shall not go about as a slanderer among your people, and you are not to act against the life of your neighbor; I am the LORD (Leviticus 19:16). God knew how destructive speaking lies about others can be. That is why He implemented the ninth commandment. “You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor” (Exodus 20:16).
Slander and bearing false witness is much more than a sin of your mouth, it is a sin that is from within your heart. "But the things that proceed out of the mouth come from the heart, and those defile the man.” For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, slanders (Matthew 15:18,19). Those things which are secretly hidden in your heart will eventually rise to the surface and escape out of your mouth. Jesus said, Where your treasure is, there will your heart be also (Matthew 6:21). The treasure in our hearts can be given to others as a blessing with graceful, truthful words or as a curse with slanderous words.
Accusations are Slander
Whoever secretly slanders his neighbor, him I will destroy… (Psalm 101:5) Are you secretly slandering your neighbor? When you speak to your friends, what are you saying about others? Many of us, who are reading these scriptures about slander, may think to ourselves that we are innocent of this sin. That may be true; we may not be purposely lying about others but what about making accusations? How often do we make what seems to be harmless accusations about others, their motives or their intent? This can be an accusation about another in which we verbally speak to others or it could even be us making an accusation in our heart against another. Thinking to ourselves, “I know she said that just to make me mad” “I know John took it because he was the last one that borrowed it.” “Mary only did it because…” “She only said that to cover her tracks.”
Whatever the accusation, they are often times just assumptions on our part. Although we did not see the person doing this thing; although we really do not know their thoughts or intent, we make a judgment in our mind and accuse another. Yes, through our “deductive reasoning” and our “intuition” we believe he or she is guilty of doing this or that. We often assume we know what happened in a situation so we speak this speculative assumption to someone else as though it were an established fact. We think we know what happened in this situation so we speak it to our heart, which may cause resentment, anger or unforgiveness which in turn breeds sin. All this is slander and it is one of the biggest ways in which we bear false witness against another.
The Bible has set out guidelines to prevent lies and false accusations. “One witness shall not rise against a man concerning any iniquity or any sin that he commits; by the mouth of two or three witnesses the matter shall be established” (Deuteronomy 19:15). God’s Word says that we need at least two or three witnesses, yet we often assume that we know what really happened and by making this assumption we first accuse another in our heart and from there we speak it to others. If you recall, it was the devil that was called “the accuser of our brethren, who accused them before our God day and night” (Rev 12:10). It was the devil who accused Job, Does Job fear God for nothing?" Satan replied. "Have you not put a hedge around him and his household and everything he has? You have blessed the work of his hands, so that his flocks and herds are spread throughout the land. But stretch out your hand and strike everything he has, and he will surely curse you to your face” (Job 1:9-11). Are you taking the role as the accuser of our brethren along with the devil? The devil comes into our thoughts to accuse others and we either accept what the devil has to offer or we reject those thoughts and accusations.
It is important that we evaluate our Christian walk to see if we are doing the devil’s work by accusing our brethren. Satan’s accusations and lies never come out of his own mouth; these accusations come straight out of the mouths of the ones in which he has control over. Satan comes in through our thoughts and in through our minds in order to cause havoc. I use the word havoc because havoc means “to destroy or pillage” and that is exactly what Satan wants to do using our mouths. When slander starts to circulate as truth, throughout the body of Christ, it destroys reputations and characters of good people. By slandering you have now helped the devil accomplish his purpose. Jesus said, “The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy.” (John 10:10). When we do not resist those thoughts, assumptions and accusations that hit our mind like fiery darts, we then start to speak those thoughts to our friends and relatives as if they were truth. This causes us to slander or bear false witness against another. This is sin and we must repent! Even if we do not speak those accusations, and we receive them into our mind, we are still bearing false witness in our heart. This is why the Bible tells us to “put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil.” (Ephesians 6:11) Each of us as believers must be ready for the schemes of the devil, remembering that he is the father of lies (John 8:44), and not give into his tricks. When those thoughts and accusations come steaming in from the devil, then remember this scripture, “for the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but mighty before God to the casting down of strongholds, casting down imaginations, and every high thing that is exalted against the knowledge of God, and bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ;” (2 Corinthians 10:4-5). Take those thoughts captive and do not let them go any further. Ask the Lord to bless and have mercy on this person and save him or her.
We are not the judge and by assuming we know the truth when we really do not, then we are trying to take the place of God, just like the devil tried to do in the beginning. By us speaking those accusations we are speaking evil against our brother. Do not speak evil of one another, brethren. He who speaks evil of a brother and judges his brother, speaks evil of the law and judges the law. But if you judge the law, you are not a doer of the law but a judge. There is one Lawgiver, who is able to save and to destroy Who are you to judge another? (James 4:11-12)
If you are judging others in your heart or speaking against people, I encourage you to repent and change your ways. Put these evil thoughts and words aside and study the pure word of God. Therefore, putting aside all malice and all deceit and hypocrisy and envy and all slander, like newborn babies, long for the pure milk of the word, so that by it you may grow in respect to salvation … (I Peter 2:1-2) We are supposed to be new creations in Christ, putting away our old habits, and longing for the pure word of God. You cannot control the devil when he shoots those fiery arrows of accusations but we can cast those thoughts down and be innocent before God. That is what it takes to “grow in respect to salvation.” That is producing the fruit of Christ
Railing and Backbiting
A close cousin to slander is what the Bible calls railing or backbiting. Railing is also translated in many of our Bibles as reviling, blaspheming and speaking evil. The words railing or backbiting means to speak evil about another person. This usually happens behind the persons back and often times are true statements which have been exaggerated with a negative spin.
We as believers must continually examine our heart and our speech to see what is coming out. Ask yourself “would I say these things if this person were present”? If you would not speak these bad things in front of them, why would you be a backbiter and speak evil behind their backs? Do you remember what we read earlier? Do not speak evil of one another, brethren. He who speaks evil of a brother and judges his brother, speaks evil of the law and judges the law… Who are you to judge another? (James 4:11-12)
The Bible calls this evil speaking unrighteousness. Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God (I Corinthians 6:9-10). Is it acceptable to God if you are neither a homosexual nor a thief, nor a drunkard and yet you speak evil of others? Maybe in your eyes you are better than they but how about in the eyes of your heavenly Father? If you believe this you are deceived, and because of your blasphemous mouth, you are just as unrighteous as they are, and will not inherit the kingdom of God!
Jesus was our example. Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow His steps: “Who committed no sin, nor was deceit found in His mouth”; who, when He was reviled, did not revile in return; when He suffered, He did not threaten… (I Peter 2:21-23). Instead of speaking evil against those who beat and crucified Him, Jesus prayed for them. “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do.” (Luke 23:34) How are you doing when others come against you either in word or deed? Are you speaking evil to others about what they are doing or are you praying for them?
What if we as Christians started praying for others rather than putting them down or speaking evil about them to others? It would probably look more like this. Finally, all of you be of one mind, having compassion for one another; love as brothers, be tenderhearted, be courteous; not returning evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary blessing, knowing that you were called to this, that you may inherit a blessing (I Peter 3:8-9). When we bless others, we in turn we will be blessed. It’s the law of sowing and reaping. “For whatever a man sows, that he will also reap.” (Galatians 6:7) What seed are you sowing out of your mouth, blessings or curses? What then will you harvest? I believe James said it best when he wrote, “but no one can tame the tongue; it is a restless evil and full of deadly poison. With it we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in the likeness of God; from the same mouth come both blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not to be this way (James 3:8-10). As the body of Christ we should be blessing others with our mouths and not cursing or speaking badly about others. Even when it seems they deserve it, if we cannot speak blessings we should just close our mouth and pray for them.
How about grumbling and murmuring about others? Do not grumble against one another, brethren, lest you be condemned. Behold, the Judge is standing at the door! (James 5:9). Did you realize that we condemn ourselves by complaining about others? It comes back again to the law of sowing and reaping. Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap (Galatians 6:7). When we grumble about others, we are judging them instead of letting God judge them. We render them guilty of this or that instead of turning the other cheek and letting God correct them. Are we being judged ourselves because of this? Jesus said, “Judge not, that you be not judged. For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you (Matthew 7:1-2). How do you want judgment measured back to you? I think we all appreciate a loving God who does not grumble or complain about our shortfalls. We appreciate a loving God who is compassionate and patient with us, always waiting for us to correct our ways and repent. So when scripture says “Do not grumble against one another, brethren, lest you be condemned”, maybe that is how and why we condemn ourselves? When we grumble or speak evil about others we condemn ourselves instead of patiently praying for them and using our faith to help them overcome their weakness.
Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice. And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you (Ephesians 4:29-32). Are there corrupt words coming out of your mouth that tear down another or are there words coming out of your mouth that edify (build up) the other person? Later the Apostle Paul again encourages us “to obey, to be ready for every good work, to speak evil of no one, to be peaceable, gentle, showing all humility to all men (Titus 3:1-2). I would encourage you to search the scriptures; they are so rich with wisdom on how we should act as true children of God.
A man’s discretion makes him slow to anger, and it is his glory to overlook a transgression (Proverbs 19:11). This is how our merciful Father treats us with many of our failures. He asks us to treat others with that same love and kindness. He is slow to anger and overlooks our many weaknesses until we finally learn from our mistakes. To overlook every transgression committed against us is where the Lord wants us to be in our Christian walk. This means we must often turn the other cheek. Would not overlooking faults be the merciful thing to do, especially when they do something not quite “Christ like” against you? Instead of overlooking their failure, many of us, including the best of Christians, grumble or complain to others about what happened. Really we should be following the “Golden Rule” Therefore, whatever you want men to do to you, do also to them (Matthew 7:12). Since we would not like others to grumble, complain and speak evil about us to their friends, should we not also strive to overlook the weaknesses of others just like we would like our faults to be overlooked? And above all things have fervent love for one another, for “love will cover a multitude of sins (I Peter 4:8).” As we love others we overlook their sins against us. We do not get offended; we do not grumble or complain. Instead, we love them and pray for them. This is how “love covers a multitude of sins.”
Yet when the scriptures ask us to overlook a transgression, it is not talking about overlooking outright willful sin. Jesus explained the protocol when we see a brother or sister in willful sin. If your brother sins, go and show him his fault in private; if he listens to you, you have won your brother. "But if he does not listen to you, take one or two more with you, so that BY THE MOUTH OF TWO OR THREE WITNESSES EVERY FACT MAY BE CONFIRMED. "If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector (Matthew 18:15-17). We are to overlook and even turn the other cheek when someone offends or transgresses against us. “Whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also.” (Matthew 5:39) But when a brother or sister in the Lord is willfully sinning against God, we must bring it to his or her attention and follow the steps above but do it in a gentle way. Brethren, if a man is overtaken in any trespass, you who are spiritual restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness… (Galatians 6:1)
We must also be careful of the company we keep. You may not have a problem with speaking against others or as the Bible calls it, blasphemy. Yet, if you hang around long enough with others who have this evil blasphemous spirit, who speak and complain about others behind their backs, this same evil spirit will start affecting you. Do not be deceived: "Bad company corrupts good morals" (I Corinthians 15:33). This sin of speaking evil against others was so serious in the early church that we saw very harsh consequences for those who were committing this sin of speaking evil against others. Hymenaeus and Alexander; whom I delivered unto Satan, that they might be taught not to blaspheme (I Timothy 1:20). As you can see, the early church did not tolerate slander, railing or blasphemy against others. They were dealt with harshly so this blasphemous spirit would not spread like a cancer throughout the early church.
The Apostle Paul was very clear that believers were not even to associate with those who say they are Christians, yet are in outward immorality. This immoral behavior includes a reviler which is defined as someone who speaks evil of others. But now I have written to you not to keep company with anyone named a brother, who is sexually immoral, or covetous, or an idolater, or a reviler, or a drunkard, or an extortioner—not even to eat with such a person. For what have I to do with judging those also who are outside [the church]? Do you not judge those who are inside [the church]? But those who are outside God judges. Therefore “put away from yourselves the evil person” (I Corinthians 5:11-13). A person who continued railing against others we removed from the church!
Paul also warns us that in the last days there will be many blasphemous and slandering people around us. But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers … And from such people turn away! (I Timothy 3:1-5)
What then should we as believers do when we have people like this in our company? The first thing is that you should love your brother or sister enough to let them know what they are doing to others is wrong. Brethren, if a man is overtaken in any trespass, you who are spiritual restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness… (Galatians 6:1) Now if they continue to rail and speak against others then we are commanded to, “Put away from yourselves the evil person.”
The next sin from our mouth that we will look at is the sin of gossip. Gossip is a close “cousin” to slander, railing and blasphemy. Yet they are not the same. Webster’s Dictionary defines gossip as; a person who habitually reveals personal or sensational facts about others; rumor or report of an intimate nature. Here is an example of gossip when widows have too much time on their hands: And besides they learn to be idle, wandering about from house to house, and not only idle but also gossips and busybodies, saying things which they ought not (1 Timothy 5:13).
It seems that gossip differs from slander in that a slanderer is a person who accuses falsely while a gossiper is someone who may speak the truth about another but they are revealing personal or intimate details about this person to others. “Did you hear about…” “did you know…” “Guess what I heard…” But let none of you suffer as a murderer, a thief, an evildoer, or as a busybody in other people’s matters (I Peter 4:15).
Gossip differs from railing because a railer or a blasphemer spoken about in the Bible is one who speaks evil or speaks against another. A gossiper may not start the evil speaking but they pass it on to others as though it were truth. If we pass on a slanderous rumor to others it is now called gossip. Are we any better than the person who started the lie? A gossiper never passes on information that builds others up; they pass on information that tears others down. With his mouth the godless man destroys his neighbor… (Proverbs 11:9) Most of the time gossip is not even investigated to see if it is really true, people just pass it on to the next person as fact. This is forbidden by the Lord. “You shall not circulate a false report. Do not put your hand with the wicked to be an unrighteous witness (Exodus 23:1). This is exactly what we do when we pass on “juicy” information to others which may or may not be true. Remember that we will be held accountable to every word spoken. But I say to you that for every idle word men may speak, they will give account of it in the day of judgment. For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned” (Matthew 12:36-37). Are you ready to give an account for what comes out of your mouth?
A story is told of a woman who had gossiped about a certain man. When she realized what she had done, she went to him and apologized. She said she would do anything to make up for the cruel things that she had said. He told her to take a sack full of feathers and to go to a certain street corner and to cast the feathers to the wind. She did so and when she had finished came back and reported. The gentleman then directed her to go back and retrieve every feather. But she exclaimed that is impossible, the wind has scattered them everywhere. So it is with the things you have said, he replied, there is no way to repair the damage that you have done.
Many times we act like the person being gossiped about is the sinner and the gossiper is just fine. Why is that? Yes, gossip may be the normal way of the world, but it should not be a part in your walk as a believer. He who is devoid of wisdom despises his neighbor, but a man of understanding holds his peace. A talebearer reveals secrets, but he who is of a faithful spirit conceals a matter (Proverbs 11:12-13). We as believers should work on holding our peace instead of revealing personal details or speaking against our neighbor. It takes a much bigger person with a stronger character to conceal a personal matter of another than it does to reveal that secret to another.
Let’s face it, gossip is enjoyable to hear and it feeds our flesh. The words of a whisperer are like dainty morsels, and they go down into the innermost parts of the body (Proverbs 18:8). Our flesh not only loves to hear the latest gossip about what is happening in other’s lives, but our flesh also wants to be recognized when we are the ones who disclose the latest information on others. People listen with an attentive ear and we feel special or important when we can reveal the latest information which no one else knows.
Yet, revealing the secrets of others and talking about them behind their backs is not what a true Christian should be doing. Speak evil of no one, to be peaceable, gentle, showing all humility to all men. For we ourselves were also once foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving various lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful and hating one another (Titus 3:2-3). Take notice how these fleshly lusts which would also include gossip, are supposed to be things of the past, things that believers should have already done away with. Also notice how the Apostle Paul talks about envy in the above scripture and the one below. And those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another (Galatians 5:24-26). Often times it is because of jealousy or envy that people gossip or speak evil about others. They want to bring the other person down in order to make themselves feel better. This may be the way for the unsaved world but not for the believer.
You could compare listening and receiving gossip to someone who is receiving stolen property. They are listening to someone else’s personal and intimate information and that is illegal in God’s book. An evildoer listens to wicked lips; a liar pays attention to a destructive tongue (Proverbs 17:4). Listening to gossip; this is one of the sins which Satan uses that is so subtle, so cunning that it can trap even the best Christian. This is because gossip is so tantalizing to the flesh and it rears its ugly head in the middle of a conversation without you even realizing it. Soon your opinion of the person spoken about changes and you now think differently about him or her. Is what you just heard really true? Was it really any of your business to know this intimate detail? You just received into your spirit something from another. What did you receive? Was it slander, was it evil speaking, or was it just receiving true personal information (gossip)? “An evildoer listens to wicked lips; a liar pays attention to a destructive tongue.” If you are listening to wicked lips or a destructive tongue, even if it is true information, the Bible calls you an “evildoer”.
How do you know if you are listening to a destructive tongue? Simply ask yourself if what you are hearing is building another up or tearing another person down. Ask this question and you will know what to do. Test all things; hold fast what is good. Abstain from every form of evil (I Thessalonians 5:21-22). If those words you are hearing are tearing another down, abstain from evil and do not receive those words into your spirit. If it is another believer who is speaking these unkind words, then help them understand that what they are doing is hurtful to the body of Christ. Ask them if instead of speaking against them if you both can pray for them, “bless, and curse not” (Romans 12:14). If they do not want to do this and they persist in gossiping, then follow the scripture in 1 Timothy 5:20 As for those who persist in sin, rebuke them in the presence of all, so that the rest may stand in fear. If this does not stop them from gossiping then do not associate with this person any longer. He who goes about as a slanderer reveals secrets, therefore do not associate with a gossip (Proverbs 20:19).
One of the biggest keys to understanding when you are hearing gossip is when the name of the person is being used in a less than favorable way. It will have an underlying tone of negativity and being judgmental. We do not know who started this rumor but it has gone from person to person and now it has come to you; what will you do with this information? Will you follow the crowd and pass on this information to others? You shall not follow a crowd to do evil… (Exodus 23:2) or will you close your ears and mouth, thus stopping the gossip from continuing?
What if we are passing on gossip, which in turn causes other believers to pass on this gossip which in turn is causing your brother to sin? “Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to sin, it would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck, and he were drowned in the depth of the sea. Woe to the world because of offenses! For offenses must come, but woe to that man by whom the offense comes! (Matthew 18:6-7). We as believers are held much more accountable than those who do not know any better. If we are causing division within the body or causing other believers to sin by what comes out of our mouth, it will not bode well on judgment day. You just may hear this. “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’ (Matthew 7:21-23) If you are gossiping and causing others to gossip too, then repent and ask the Lord to forgive you and ask that God would renew your mind, “that you put off, concerning your former conduct, the old man which grows corrupt according to the deceitful lusts, and be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and that you put on the new man which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness (Ephesians 4:22-24).
Be aware of a tactic which Satan uses to disguise gossip as “concern” for others. Rumors or gossip will seem more palatable to mature Christians if they are hid behind a hollow expression of concern. It could even be hid in an appeal for prayer. They may say, “Keep John in your prayers I heard his wife just left him…” Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. Resist him, steadfast in the faith… (I Peter 5:8-9). Please be aware of this tactic and just ask the Lord to reveal gossip to you when you hear others speak, even when it comes in the form of concern for others.
Satan’s #1 Tactic to Destroy the Church
As we wrap up our discussion about slander, railing and gossip, I hope you are beginning to see that this is what Satan’s number one tactic is in order to destroy the body of Christ. Yes, Satan is using the mouth of those who claim to be Christians to tear down the church.
Is Satan using you to cause strife within the body? Are you one who makes peace or one who steals the peace? Are you doing Satan’s work for him? Please examine yourself. God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. If we say that we have fellowship with him and walk in the darkness, we lie, and do not the truth (I John 1:5-6). Please look closely at your walk to see if you are walking in the Light or walking in darkness.
Walking in darkness is using our tongues to hurt others and cause division among God’s people. This is something which God hates. These six things the LORD hates, yes, seven are an abomination to Him: a proud look, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked plans, feet that are swift in running to evil, a false witness who speaks lies, and one who sows discord among brethren (Proverbs 6:16-19). This is exactly what we have been speaking about within this article. Slandering, railing and gossiping; these are all sins that come from our heart which manifests out of our mouths. These all take place against the body of Christ and this causes division and discord within the body, A dishonest man spreads strife, and a whisperer separates close friends (Proverbs 16:28). This is an abomination to the Lord!
While those causing strife and division are detestable to the Lord, it is also what God uses to test those who are His TRUE children and which ones are of the devil. You could say that it is part of the sifting process that God uses. I hear that there are divisions among you, and in part I believe it. For there must also be factions among you, that those who are approved may be recognized among you (I Corinthians 11:18-19). Yes, out of the strife in which a railer or gossiper will cause within the body, we will be able to recognize those who are the Lord’s and who are not. If they do not repent and stop this evil behavior they are to be rejected. Reject a divisive man after the first and second admonition, knowing that such a person is warped and sinning, being self-condemned (Titus 3:10-11). What these “tares” amongst the “wheat” do is they steal the peace within the body of believers and scripture is very clear about what happens with those who do not strive for peace. Strive for peace with everyone, and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord (Hebrews 12:14). If we want to see the Lord, we had better change our ways.
Set a guard, O LORD, over my mouth; keep watch over the door of my lips (Psalm 141:3). These scriptures should be the prayers of every believer reading this. Why? Because without God doing His regenerating works in us, we will always fail. Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Your sight (Psalm 19:14).
God’s #1 Weapon to Build the Church
While Satan’s weapon against the church is to cause division by gossip and slander, God has given us a weapon to counteract what the devil is attempting to do, and this weapon is called LOVE. Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails… (I Corinthians 13:4-8) If each and every member within the body of Christ would practice what this scripture says, there would never be an issue with gossip or speaking against others because we would love each other as we love ourselves. This is how the body of Christ is to function, in love. Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things (Philippians 4:8).
I pray this lesson today has been helpful to the body. If everyone would work together in Christ and remind each other when we are crossing the line of gossip, we would soon eliminate this sin from the church and start to walk in the fullness of Christ. We would then have that body of believers we see in the book of Acts where they were of one heart and had all things in common. Let’s all pray that we can get there soon.
O LORD, who may abide in Your tent? Who may dwell on Your holy hill? He who walks with integrity, and works righteousness, and speaks truth in his heart. He does not slander with his tongue, nor does evil to his neighbor, nor takes up a reproach against his friend (Psalm 15:1-3).
Mark, a servant of the Lord, www.HeavensHelpers.org
Important Scriptures that relate to this article:
Do not receive an accusation against an elder except from two or three witnesses (I Timothy 5:19).
"They bend their tongue like their bow; lies and not truth prevail in the land; for they proceed from evil to evil, and they do not know Me," declares the LORD. "Let everyone be on guard against his neighbor, and do not trust any brother; because every brother deals craftily, and every neighbor goes about as a slanderer. "Everyone deceives his neighbor and does not speak the truth, they have taught their tongue to speak lies; they weary themselves committing iniquity. "Your dwelling is in the midst of deceit; through deceit they refuse to know Me," declares the LORD (Jeremiah 9:3-6).
And just as they did not see fit to acknowledge God any longer, God gave them over to a depraved mind, to do those things which are not proper, being filled with all unrighteousness, wickedness, greed, evil; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, malice; they are gossips, slanderers… and although they know the ordinance of God, that those who practice such things are worthy of death… (Romans 1:28-32)
For I am afraid that perhaps when I come I may find you to be not what I wish and may be found by you to be not what you wish; that perhaps there will be strife, jealousy, angry tempers, disputes, slanders, gossip, arrogance, disturbances (II Corinthians 12:20).
He who speaks truth declares righteousness, but a false witness, deceit. There is one who speaks like the piercings of a sword, But the tongue of the wise promotes health (Proverbs 12:17-18).
For lack of wood the fire goes out, and where there is no whisperer, contention quiets down. Like charcoal to hot embers and wood to fire, so is a contentious man to kindle strife. The words of a whisperer are like dainty morsels, and they go down into the innermost parts of the body. Like an earthen vessel overlaid with silver dross are burning lips and a wicked heart. He who hates disguises it with his lips, but he lays up deceit in his heart. When he speaks graciously, do not believe him, for there are seven abominations in his heart. Though his hatred covers itself with guile, his wickedness will be revealed before the assembly Proverbs 26:20-26).
But to the wicked God says: “What right have you to declare My statutes, or take My covenant in your mouth, seeing you hate instruction and cast My words behind you? When you saw a thief, you consented with him, and have been a partaker with adulterers. You give your mouth to evil, and your tongue frames deceit. You sit and speak against your brother; you slander your own mother’s son. These things you have done, and I kept silent; you thought that I was altogether like you; but I will rebuke you, and set them in order before your eyes. “Now consider this, you who forget God, lest I tear you in pieces, and there be none to deliver (Psalm 50:16-22).
For every kind of beast and bird, of reptile and sea creature, can be tamed and has been tamed by mankind, but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison. With it we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse people who are made in the likeness of God (James 3:7-9).
Do not be rash with your mouth, and let not your heart utter anything hastily before God. For God is in heaven, and you on earth; therefore let your words be few (Ecclesiastes 5:2).
The heart of the wise teaches his mouth, and adds learning to his lips. Pleasant words are like a honeycomb, sweetness to the soul and health to the bones (Proverbs 16:23-24).
Whoever guards his mouth and tongue keeps his soul from troubles (Proverbs 21:23).
If anyone speaks, let him speak as the oracles of God (I Peter 4:11).
Keep your tongue from evil, and your lips from speaking deceit (Psalm 34:13).
Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruit (Proverbs 18:21).
Whoever covers an offense seeks love, but he who repeats a matter separates close friends (Proverbs 17:9).
A prudent man conceals knowledge, but the heart of fools proclaims foolishness (Proverbs 12:23).
The one who guards his mouth preserves his life; the one who opens wide his lips comes to ruin (Proverbs 13:3).
He who guards his mouth preserves his life, but he who opens wide his lips shall have destruction (Proverbs 13:3).
A gentle tongue is a tree of life, but perverseness in it breaks the spirit (Proverbs 15:4).
The heart of the righteous studies how to answer, But the mouth of the wicked pours forth evil (Proverbs 15:28).
For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. (35) A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good things, and an evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth evil things (Matthew 12:34).
Because of these things the wrath of God is coming upon the sons of disobedience, in which you yourselves once walked when you lived in them. But now you yourselves are to put off all these: anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy language out of your mouth. Do not lie to one another, since you have put off the old man with his deeds (Colossians 3:6-9).
If anyone among you thinks he is religious, and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his own heart, this one’s religion is useless (James 1:26).