*Scripture pertaining to how to deal with gossip is below this post for your own personal or group study.
Dr. Michael D. Sedler, author of When to Speak Up and When to Shut Up (powerful book), has penned another book focusing on something the community, families and especially the church need to read and apply.
He is talking about Gossip. Noah Webster’s Dictionary 1828 defines gossip as an “evil report”.
Evil Report: When an individual maliciously injures, damages or discredits another’s reputation or character through the use of words or attitude.
Something important we need to remember is that just because what you say about someone may be true- it is and remains an evil report. Your attitude behind the report is not pure and God knows this as well. Michael Sedler makes this very clear in his book: If you cannot say what you have to say to the actual person, you need not say it at all. Why say it? What is your purpose for spreading vicious reports about someone? Will it heal them in any way? Will it bring them closer to the Lord?
Think before you talk.
The next issue with evil reporting involves how it has the power to change and pollute minds. If the above definition and matter concerning evil reporting isn’t enough for you, just think about how the enemy uses those that gossip to pollute minds and hearts. For example, say you and your spouse get into an argument and you tell your mom, dad, and sibling. First of all, these are the wrong people to tell. Why? What if you and your spouse clear the air, apologize and things are rosy again? Your family will still have a polluted view of the person probably for the rest of their lives.
This is just how humans work. We tell someone something. If their minds and hearts are not guarded and girded in Christ, they will heed what you say, take it as law and now they have poisoned minds. As a moral, ethical, Christian person you can’t just take one view of someone’s story.
I can go on and on about this neat book, but the main point is that gossiping and criticism is something we all need to work on. Dr. Sedler offers some helpful tips on safeguarding your home from evil reporting. Some tips he offers (paraphrased) are:
- Guard your house
- Be accountable for your own speech.
- Set guidelines for your children-help them to prevent evil reporting in their lives.
- Check your home for evil reports
- Examine your own attitude to change it.
- Use love as the antidote for poison
- Teach others to use Matthew 18 as the guideline for restoration (Sedler, 2001, pp.194-197).
*Some helpful scriptures to include in your personal and/or group study time:
- Proverbs 10:18
- Daniel 13: 24-25
- Esther 3:8-9
- Nehemiah 6:10
- Matthew 4:8-9
- Proverbs 20:19
- Matthew 18:15
- Galatians 6:1-2
- Jude 16
- Judges 7
- Mark 16
- 1 Corinthians 14:33
- James 3:16
- Matthew 18:7
- 2 Timothy 4:3-4
- Proverbs 25:23
- Ephesians 5:8
- 2Timothy 2:22
Stop the Runaway Conversation: Take Control Over Gossip and Criticism
Author: Dr. Michael D. Sedler
Published: Chosen: A division of Baker Book House Co.(2001)
Dr. Michael D. Sedler is married and has three sons and lives in Spokane, Washington where he has served as an associate pastor at Harvest Christian Fellowship, his home church since 1983. He and his wife have developed marriage enrichment seminars for the local church and teach a nine-month adult discipleship program.
Michael Sedler has a master’s degree in social work as well as an M.Div and doctoral degree in ministry (Paraphrased and taken from inside the book).
Did you like this post? Share it with others on the social networks you frequent! Have you been negatively affected by evil reports before, or have you spread the evil report(s)? What has God shown you regarding this?
We’d love to hear from you!