When Someone Gossips to You
1. Frown on gossip. Prov. 25:23 says, “The north wind driveth away rain: so doth an angry countenance a backbiting tongue.” If we show a dislike for gossip, the gossipers will avoid us. It is the ready listener who often become a partaker in other’s sins. Remember, the one who speaks evil of others to you will most likely speak evil of you to others. Also, always be careful in what you say about others; it can and may be used against you.
2. Defend the one spoken against. Christians are to speak evil of no one (Titus 3:2; Eph. 4:31). We must always think the best of others and give them the benefit of the doubt. “To the pure all things are pure.” (Titus 1:15). “...Love thinks no evil.” (1 Cor. 13:5). If we strongly defend the one spoken against, the gossiper will probably become discouraged and quit. Furthermore, we would want people to defend us when we were spoken against.
3. Tell them to go to the one they are speaking against. In Matt. 18:15, Jesus did not say, “If your brother sins against you, go tell his fault to others,” but “If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault between you and him alone.” More often than not the former is what is actually done. A Christian, upon hearing a brother tell the fault of another said, “I’m going to tell him you said that.” The brother replied, “I didn’t mean for you to tell him; it was just between you and I.” The Christian answered, “If you are not willing to go to him, you should not be spreading it to others.”
4. Remind them that those who gossip lack wisdom. “A fool vents all his feelings, but a wise man holds them back.” (Prov. 29:11). “A talebearer reveals secrets, but he who is of a faithful spirit conceals a matter.” (Prov. 11.13). “A fool’s mouth is his destruction, and his lips are the snare of his soul.” (Prov. 18:7). His own mouth gets him into trouble. The righteous will join together against him.
5. Teach them the evils of gossip. “He who covers a transgression seeks love, but he who repeats a matter separates friends.” (Prov. 17:9). “The words of a talebearer are as wounds...” (Prov. 18:8). When brethren are offended and contentions arise, it is difficult to overcome the barriers to fellowship and understanding (Prov. 18:19). The tongue is the root of many church problems and divisions. “As charcoal is to burning coals, and wood to fire, so is a contentious man to kindle strife.” (Prov. 26:21).
6. Emphasize God’s displeasure of gossipers. God hates the sower of discord among brethren (Prov. 6:16-19). “A worthless person, a wicked man, walks with a perverse mouth...Perversity is in his heart, he devises evil continually, he sows discord. Therefore his calamity shall come suddenly; suddenly he shall be broken without remedy.” (Prov. 6:12-15). If a person does not control his tongue, his religion is vain and he only deceives himself if he thinks otherwise (James 1:26). His lips are the snare of his soul (Prov. 18:7).
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