God's Exquisite Garden


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The word gossip means a rumor or talk of a personal, sensational or intimate nature. Another meaning for gossip is a person who habitually spreads intimate or private rumors or facts.

There is a proper place for talking about others when they are not present in a productive way, no matter if it is for beneficial purposes or contradictory. That proper place would be talking about something with their permission, also permission as to whom you speak with.

Gossip may begin slowly and sometimes before we realize it, we are caught up in the middle of gossip. If we are speaking to a friend, and the friend begins to tell you something juicy, that is the time in which you should stand up for what you know is right. Say " I don't want to hear anymore", then walk away from the conversation. In Leviticus 19: 16 we read "You shall not go about as a talebearer among your people; nor shall you take a stand against the life of your neighbor: I am the LORD. "

Unfortunately, gossip has always been a part of human life. Most of the references found in the Old Testament are in Proverbs. Proverbs 11: 13 , "A talebearer reveals secrets, but he who is of a faithful spirit, conceals a matter." In Proverbs 18:8 we read, "The words of a gossip are like choice morsels; they go down to a man's inmost parts. " , Proverbs 26: 22 states the same idea. Friendships are destroyed (Proverbs 16: 28) and quarrels are provoked (Proverbs 26: 20) making it a damaging exercise.

We have been in places where gossip has taken place. Gossip happens in all kinds of gatherings; small and large, public and private. It occurs in the workplace, at church; anywhere people meet. Even though co-workers, friends, and family may wish to tell something juicy; we must remember the New Testament warnings. In Matthew 12: 36 we are told, "But I say to you that for every idle word men may speak, they will give account of it in the day of judgement."

Everyone has been in a group when someone starts telling partially true or fabricated statements that are considered by some to be essentially true. Those who are the object of the gossip can find it hard to conclusively clear themselves.

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My youngest sister told me of a class where the teacher said that gossip can occur in prayer circles. Some in that same room with a prayer circle may be genuinely concerned, but there also may be those who want to further spread the information they hear.

We should never speak about someone who isn't present when the conversation involving them occurs. A rule that helps me is to not tell anything about someone else unless they have told me what to repeat and to whom to tell it. It just takes a seemingly careless remark to begin a ˜juicy" conversation. It may attract others, enlarging the gathering. We need to think,"Would I want this done to me?" Another thought we need to ask ourselves is ,“ Do I want to really need to make friends this way?"

There is a human weakness that we all have. That weakness is we privately enjoy hearing about the inadequacies of others. We may have that weakness, but it is our responsibility to walk away.

In James 3:5-6 we're told "Even so the tongue also is a little member and boasts great things. See how great a forest a little fire kindles! And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity. The tongue is so set among our members that it defiles the whole body, and sets on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire by hell."

You probably have either seen or heard of a huge forest fire started by a careless act by someone. California has had large fires many times recently. We all know of the vast damage that a fire produces. A fire begins with a small spark burning and then it can quickly spread and get out of control. God compares the damage gossip produces with the destruction a fire can cause.

If someone confides their secrets to us, we should not repeat it without their permission first. When we get permission, it should be to whom we would tell and exactly what information is to be disclosed. Any further information that we convey without permission will only hurt their reputation and end up damaging the character of the one speaking.

Even if we are around close friends, we should never reveal something told to us in confidence. We have read how God hates gossip. If we hear, "Have you heard..", that is the time we should excuse ourselves and walk away. Before we walk away, we need to say to those gathered:"That is something I do not want to hear." We should stand up for what we know to be right.

A beautiful precept of Christianity that's so adequately applicable to promoting the good order and the happiness of society is the instruction here. In this world there is plenty for us to do without interfering in the lives of others.

I remember as an eleven to twelve year old, we played a game called "GOSSIP". There would be everyone present sitting in a row. One person would cup their hands and whisper into the ears of the person that was seated next to them. The last person would say out loud what they heard, inevitably they said nothing like the person that began the game. Many times it was never the same topic and never the same outcome. A simple game reveals how the spread of gossip alters the original story.

"Make it your ambition to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business and to work with your hands, just as we told you, so that your daily life may win the respect of outsiders and so that you will not be dependent on anybody."
I Thessalonians 4:11(NKJV)

In this scripture we are told to care for our own business and not to interfere with someone else's business.

In Philippians 2:4 we are told to look after their interests. But when we look after another's interests we are not interfering with their life.

The Bible tells us whenever someone does not have enough to do, or has too much time on their hands they are prone to gossip.

Remember, the Lord firmly prohibited the making up or the spreading of trivial conversation. Proverbs 25: 18" A man who bears false witness against his neighbor is like a club, a sword, and a sharp arrow. " Telling lies about others is as harmful as hitting them with an ax, wounding them with a sword or knife, or shooting them with a sharp arrow. Remember, a person who will gossip to you, will gossip about you. The juicier the gossip is, that makes it more likely to be untrue. Gossip is social sewage.

In this way gossip is similar to a soup, the more a rumor is spread the thicker it gets. In some soups, the longer they stand, the thicker they get.

The next time you consider passing on a bit of gossip, visualize yourself stabbing the person your remarks are aimed at. That is the effect gossip can have on others. We all have read where a stabbing victim may need surgery or often they cannot recover from their wounds. That leaves a mental picture in our minds and it may help you reconsider the passing of any gossip.

Some more things we need to remember are gossiping will betray a confidence. Among Christians, there is no place for gossip. Gossip is an object some people make up and others increase. Some feel that if they have heard a bit of gossip, even though they may not like to spread gossip, they don't know what else to do with it. When we listen to gossip we are only inspiring and composing gossip. If there are not any listeners, there is no gossip.

So do not gossip, it is as plain as that.

"Brood of vipers! How can you, being evil, speak good things? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. 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. 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 12:34-37(NKJV)

Discussion and study questions:
(1) Why is it wrong to spread rumors?
(2) What is wrong with gossip?
(3) What effect can gossip have?
(4) But is it true?

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Copyright 2007 Linda Lawrence

Lessons in this Series

About The Author

Print Version of All Lessons

Lesson 1

Lesson 2
The Mind of Christ

Lesson 3
Imitate Christ

Lesson 4

Lesson 5
Taming the Tongue

Lesson 6
Our Legacy

Lesson 7

Lesson 8

Lesson 9

Lesson 10

Lesson 11

Lesson 12

Lesson 13
Improper Language

. .

Lesson 14

Lesson 15

Lesson 16

Lesson 17

Lesson 18

Lesson 19
Strength to
Endure Suffering

Lesson 20
Grieve Not
The Spirit

Lesson 21

Lesson 22

Lesson 23

Lesson 24
Purity in Heart

Lesson 25

Lesson 26

. .

Lesson 27

Lesson 28

Lesson 29

Lesson 30
Inner Peace

Lesson 31

Lesson 32
Our Example

Lesson 33

Lesson 34

Lesson 35
Testing Of Our Faith

Lesson 36

Lesson 37

Lesson 38
Problems Concerning

Lesson 39
Practical Results

. .

Lesson 40
Good Works

Lesson 41
Women Teachers
in Bible Times

Lesson 42
Women Teachers

Lesson 43
Good Friends

Lesson 44
Choosing a Husband

Lesson 45
Choosing a Wife

Lesson 46
The Exemplary Daughter
Part 1

Lesson 47
The Exemplary Daughter
Part 2

Lesson 48
The Ideal Mother
Part 1

Lesson 49
The Ideal Mother
Part 2

Lesson 50
The Home As God
Would Have It
Part 1

Lesson 51
The Home As God
Would Have It
Part 2

Lesson 52
. .

Lesson 53
Marriage As God
Would Have It
Part 1

Lesson 54
Marriage As God
Would Have It
Part 2

Lesson 55
The Virtuous Woman
Part 1

Lesson 56
The Virtuous Woman
Part 2

Lesson 57
The Virtuous Woman
Part 3

Lesson 58

Lesson 59

Lesson 60
Pride & Haughtiness

Lesson 61

Lesson 62

Lesson 63

Lesson 64

Lesson 65

. .

Lesson 66

Lesson 67

Lesson 68
Infinite God

Lesson 69
Holiness of God

Lesson 70
of God

Lesson 71

Lesson 72
of God

Lesson 73
of God

. .

36505: Words That Hurt, Words That Heal Words That Hurt, Words That Heal
By Rabbi Joseph Telushkin / Harper Paperbacks

In this book, using wit and wide-ranging intelligence, Rabbi Telushkin, explains the harm in spreading gossip, rumors, or other's secrets, and how unfair anger, excessive criticism, or lying undermines true communication. By sensitizing us to subtleties of speech we may never have considered before, he shows us how to turn every exchange into an opportunity.

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