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Do you gossip?
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Can you say you haven't?

If someone were to ask you. What would your response be?
Can you honestly say that you do not gossip? Could you say that you have never gossiped?
But before you answer that. What is gossip? Well, let's look at what the Merriam-Webster dictionary says about gossip:
Gossip -a person who habitually reveals personal or sensational facts about others. rumor or report of an intimate nature. a chatty talk.
So chances are you probably have gossiped about someone! Sometime? If you were honest! ...Yes?
You see none of us are immune to sin. We all sin:
 "for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,"
                         (Romans 3:23 NKJV)
And we can never deny it!
 "If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us."
                         (1 John 1:8 NKJV)
And if we do? We are calling The Lord a liar:
 "If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us."
                        (1 John 1:10 NKJV)
And we all know better, than that! Dont we?!!
You see we have all felt the "sting" of what sin does to us!
And the sad thing for us? As christians? When we go around making matters worse for others! By sharing intimate details about someone, or a situation. Knowing that there is no good reason for them to know, or be involved with the (given) situation.
And what types of people habitually do this? Well, many and for many reasons. There are those that have been hurt. Or feel they have been mistreated. They go to another person. They say something like, "oh please pray for me, because, so and so, did this to me and it hurt".
What happens? They end up going around getting pity from others! While at the same time (knowingly) hurting the reputation of another. Whether by (their own) merit, or not!
Now is there anything wrong with sharing hurts with others? No, not at all. But it has to be in the right context and in the right "spirit" (intentions)! Not when the intention is to "ruin" someone's reputation (i.e. revenge). It's just plain wrong! And unfortunately there are many out there doing this.
You see we are all broken people. In some way, or another. And we all have our short comings. And sometimes we seek to overcome these the worldly way! By trying to make others look bad, and us look like the "poor victims". And when we do this. We are no better, than those who have hurt us!                     
And we need to remember. It is God's place is to execute vengeance! Not ours!!
  "It is mine to avenge; I will repay. In due time their foot will slip; their day of disaster is near and their doom rushes upon them."
                       (Deuteronomy 32:35 NIV)
You see God will deal with those who are doing wrong! It is NOT our place to play, "vigilante". We have no right to be the judge.
And not only, must we refrain from taking revenge. But we must love those who wrong us:
  "You shall not take vengeance, nor bear any grudge against the children of your people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself: I am the LORD."
                          (Leviticus 19:18 NKJV)
  "But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you,"
                                       (Matthew 5:44 NKJV)
We MUST pray for them! Now, of course this is never easy. Especially if someone has wronged us. But we must. And not only should we pray for them. But we MUST also forgive them!
Afterall, the Lord said we will not be forgiven either! If we do not forgive those who have sinned against us:
  "But if you do not forgive, neither will your Father in heaven forgive your trespasses.”
                           (Mark 11:26 NKJV)
And it MUST be from the heart:
 "Then, after he had summoned him, his master said to him, 'You wicked slave! I forgave you all that debt because you begged me. Shouldn't you also have had mercy on your fellow slave, as I had mercy on you? ' And his master got angry and handed him over to the jailers until he could pay everything that was owed. So My heavenly Father will also do to you if each of you does not forgive his brother from his heart."
                   (Matthew 18:32-35 HCSB)
And we must also examine ourselves:
 "And why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye, but do not consider the plank in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me remove the speck from your eye’; and look, a plank is in your own eye? Hypocrite! First remove the plank from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye."
                    (Matthew 7:3-5 NKJV)
We MUST be different, from the world around us. That is what God has called us to!
He has called us to be His royal priesthood:
 "But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light;"
                     (1 Peter 2:9 NKJV)
And how unseemly it is for His royal priesthood  to be unforgiving! Let alone, gossiping!! Amen? ...!!
Now, there are also there are those who go around spreading gossip about others "indiscriminently". Why? Because they have few friends. And feel that if they can attract others to them by gossiping. They will do whatever they can. And often it ends up back-firing. As they almost always end up gossiping. Not only about the ones they are talking about. But also about the ones they are telling their gossip to also (to another!)! Even telling very intimate (personal, sensitive, etc.) things about another. That do not concern others (and were obviously not meant to be public). Without any concern what it may do to another.
And what they do can be so destructive:
 "A wholesome tongue is a tree of life, 
        But perverseness in it breaks the spirit."
                       (Proverbs 15:4 NKJV)
To so many different people!
They do not realize how powerful the tongue can be:
 "Death and life are in the power of the tongue,
       And those who love it will eat its fruit."
                      (Proverbs 18:21 NKJV)
This type of person, does it so much. That they have no clue the hurt and pain they cause to others. They think it a laughing matter. Even damaging, and worse? Destroying families, friendships, relationships and reputations:
 "A perverse man sows strife,
      And a whisperer separates the best of friends."
                         (Proverbs 16:28 NKJV)
And damaging their own reputation:
 "The north wind brings forth rain, 
       And a backbiting tongue an angry countenance."
                          (Proverbs 25:23 NKJV)

You see we are called to love:
  "This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you."
                        (John 15:12 NKJV)
And what is love? Paul the apostle said it best! Inspired by the Holy Spirirt:
 "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."
                  (1 Corinthians 13:4-7 NKJV)
But gossiping about others is not showing the love of Christ! Is it now?
Think about it! "Love suffers long and is kind". And sharing private, or sensitive matters about someone is not very loving, or very kind is it? And "love does not envy". But yet, does not envy (often times) cause people to gossip to others about someone that they are envious of (or jealous of)?
And it is quite rude to share someone elses personal matters isn't it? So, "all in all", gossiping is not loving others as we are called to do (Jn 15:12)!
It all comes down to this.  Sharing someone's personal life with others is not appropriate! It's just plain wrong!!
So the question is this. If you are guily? Are you going to stop and think? Be more sensitive to others? Keep things to yourself that do not concern you, or non-concerned parties?
Or are you going to continue to share things that you have no business sharing? And not only hurt others. But also earn a "not-so-good" reputation for yourself?
You see you cannot gossip long before others really find you out! Then, after you have made yourself such a reputation? Who will be your friend?
You see it all comes down to this. WWJD (absolutely no pun intended!)?
And if your still not sure. Here is some "food" for thought:
 "For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” But if you bite and devour one another, beware lest you be consumed by one another!"
                          (Galatians 5:14-15 NKJV)
 "The tongue of the wise uses knowledge rightly,
       But the mouth of fools pours forth foolishness."
                          (Proverbs 15:2 NKJV)
 "Whoever guards his mouth and tongue
       Keeps his soul from troubles."
                          (Proverbs 21:23 NKJV)
So think about!
What will you do when you have an oppurtunity to build up? Or tear down?
Afterall, there are enough people out there doing damage! And they really do not need anymore help!! Do they?

Rev. John Heintzman
Evangelist Non-Denominational
Any questions, comments, prayer requests?

POHOM Columbus, Ohio
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