Christian Involvement in Gossip &                          Appropriate Speech

Why are one’s conversation and personal speech considered so important by Bible-believing Christians? Does the church really believe gossip is a sin?


Speech and conversation tell a great deal about one’s character. “Out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks”, Matthew 12:34. Profanity and obscene talk of ungodly people reveal the nature of their hearts. Printable version link is at the bottom of this page.


Spoken words have unbelievable power. Life and death can be determined by our words. Words are also described as weapons and arrows (Psalms 57:4, 64:3, Jer. 9:8). James describes the power of the tongue as rudder on a ship or spark that sets a forest on fire (James 3:2-12).


The Bible clearly teaches and condemns all lies and idle talk. “Do not go about spreading slander among your people” Lev. 19:16.   “If anyone considers himself religious and yet does not keep tight reign on his tongue, he deceives himself and his religion is worthless” James 1:26.


Jesus said, “Men will have to give account on the day of judgment for every careless word they have spoken. For by your words you will be acquitted, and by your words you will be condemned” Matthew 12:36, 37. In every context, gossip is related to words, ideas, and behaviors that are entirely incompatible with the Christian lifestyle.


The horror of gossip turns language or words, our best gift and most powerful tool, into a cruel deadly weapon. Idle talk mangles truth and exchanges wisdom for foolishness, James 3. Also, gossip is opposite of love. Instead of helping and seeing the best in every individual, especially other Christians, it brings about hurt, strife, anger, and division—all of which goes contrary to the word of God. Many look at Judas as being the ultimate betrayer but in essence, when so-called Christians gossip, they are betraying a fellow Christian, which is no different from Judas.


Many churches have lost their effectiveness and reputation within the communities because of gossipers. Many fail to understand how serious gossip really is and how it can be used by the devil. (Ephesians 4:25-32, James 3:6). Some church members believe it is “their duty” to inform others but God instructs to think on things that are pure and of good report. Philippians 4:8. We should also “abstain from all appearance of evil” 1 Thessalonians 5:22.


God has given us a wonderful and powerful tool to be used for “His “ glory. Believers should do well to evaluate the words they are saying and how they lift up or tear down others. A Christian’s speech should reflect God’s grace and give a testimony to the fact God is alive in us and working in our life.


We can stop gossip in several ways. First of all, we must refrain to listen to rumors. We should be encouraged to support and pray for those in need. Secondly, we need to correct others who bring gossip to us. These people are just as bad or worse than the people they are gossiping about. Thirdly, don’t get caught up with discussions concerning others without them being present. Don’t say anything you would not want repeated. The people you are talking to may be as indiscrete with words as they are with bringing you the latest gossip. Fourthly, be a peacemaker. Don’t be labeled as a troublemaker.


Likewise, out speech should be appropriate. What is appropriate speech? Should we speak in the same manner as the King James version, using thee and thou? People would definitely look at us! You talk about being a peculiar people!


Our speech should be one of holiness, one that is no longer a part of our way of life. We no longer use profanity or any other words that a Christian should not be using. This is not only true with profanity, but harsh words to others, gossip, or things that bring about a negative report. Many “Christians” find it permissible to speak ill of their pastor or church leaders as if they are above God’s plan. One should either ignore these or try to give them the guidance they really need.


A true measure of our speech can be found with one simple statement. “Would you say or act in that manner if Jesus was standing right before you?” Would you say the same negative things about others? Would you slip out a “cuss word” when anger arises? Would you be able to control your anger if Jesus was right before you? I find it amusing that everyone responds by saying “Yes!!!” but ignorant it is to make such a statement. Don’t you know that Jesus is living inside of you and one cannot ignore His guidance unless one is driven by another master. The Bible says very clearly that one cannot serve two masters.  


Throughout the Bible, it says that we are the righteousness of God. We are no longer tied to the things in this world but walk in righteous living, displaying Christian characteristics, speaking in a holy manner, and being separate from this world. 2Co 5:17 Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. {he is: or, let him be}


1Jo 2:16 For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. 


1Jo 5:4 For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith.  


2 Corinthians states, Let no man deceive himself. If any man among you seemeth to be wise in this world, let him become a fool, that he may be wise.

These are only a few scriptures which talks about us being separate from the world. We should be looking at changing our lives, not having parts of both worlds. James 3:12 says, Can the fig tree, my brethren, bear olive berries? either a vine, figs? so can no fountain both yield salt water and fresh. How can a Christian still do ungodly things, say ungodly things, and still participate in the things of this world. Can someone have a good testimony if we look and sound like every other (non-Christian)? When we do this, we deceive ourselves, setting us as hypocrites. James 1:8 says, A double minded man is unstable in all his ways. Is someone trying to serve two masters?


There is hope. Romans encourages us to renew our minds and set our course on God’s course. Ro 12:2 And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God. We have a set of standards, God’s Word to give us instruction and will direct our paths. (Ps 119:105, Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path. {lamp: or, candle})


The Bible instructs us to be witnesses or examples to the whole world, including those inside and outside of our church. Eph 5:27 That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish. 1Pe 1:15 But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation;


Righteousness is a Godly way of living. It does not mean that any of us are perfect, but we are forgiven from our past. As Paul says, we press towards the mark. We endure the race. Not looking back to the things we use to love and “hang” onto. Look at Lot’s wife. She still desired the things of her past (the world).


So many times, especially in our day and time, people believe that we can get saved, forgiven, and still use foul language or be able to input sinful things in our lives just like they had done before becoming a Christian, believing they are going to heaven. I cannot judge whether someone will go to heaven or not, only God can judge them, but if someone publically separates themselves to a holy way of living, why should they still desire to do the things that are not pleasing to God and His word?


Let me encourage you today. If you are battling your speech, habits, thoughts, or trying to “hang” onto sinful desires, you need to find a place of victory over these ”things” that so easily beset us. Hebrews 12:1 says, Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us.


God wants us to walk in victory. He wants us to walk and be Godly examples for Him. Our efforts, as Christians, should be one to please God and to live a walk that is pleasing to him, which includes the manner which we speak and walk. Pray every day for direction, ask for forgiveness when thoughts comes up, ask for forgiveness from others we have offended, and get with others who have overcome some of the same desires and habits. Usually others are really there to help if one would only ask.


Printable Version
Gossip and Appropriate Speech.doc
Microsoft Word document [31.5 KB]

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