Wait Wait ... Don't Gossip (4.29.13)
Jesus was crucified because of gossip.
What was the juicy lie?
That he taught his people not to pay taxes to Caesar and that he was going to militarily overthrow Rome as "king of the Jews" (Luke23,2; John 19,12).
These were slanderous and the exact opposite of what he said and did.
Paul spent the rest of his life in Roman custody because of gossip.
What was the gossip?
His persecutors from Ephesus saw Paul with a Ephesian gentile (the non Jew "Trophimus") as they too had come back for the required Jewish feast of Pentecost. And the gossipers assumed he had profaned the Jerusalem Temple by bringing Trophimus into the court of the Jews- or attempted to do so (Acts 21,27-29; Acts 24,2).
This was a slanderous and calculated lie, the exact opposite of what Paul said and did.
This led to a riot, and would have resulted in Paul's immediate death, but Rome stepped in and put Paul in Roman custody, for the rest of his life.
Over Gossip- our savior lost his life.
Over gossip- his principal apostle and bible scribe lost his freedom.
Gossip, to be really effective, is usually mixed with circumstantial tidbits, some erroneous reasoning, someone believing the last thing someone told them, all manner of politics, and an imaginative flourish and finish accompanied by an nasty greasy filthy final lump of envy thrown in for good measure.
"It was out of envy that they handed Jesus over." (Mark 15,10)
I often meet folks that I don't pastor who might not know I'm anti-gossip (not anti-conversation). And they look at me quizzically as I look over their shoulder and hurry from their face.
A gossiping face is an ugly face.
I've noticed gossip knows no gender restrictions and that both men and women do it in equal measure. Women who gossip seem to like the story and the details most. Men who gossip seem to enjoy the instant certainty and quick finality that their re-tellings brings to the matters at hand.
Here are some scriptures that migth help us see the ugly face of gossip:
Exodus23,1: "Thou shall not take up an evil report." (Leviticus19,6)
Deuteronomy27,24: "cursed is anyone who smites his neighbor secretly."
Proverbs18,21: "Death and life are in the tongue."
1Corinthians8,2: "When a man thinks he knows something, he knows nothing as yet he ought to know it."
1Timothy5,13: "They acquire habits of idleness as they go around visiting homes, and not merely are they idle but they are gossips and busy bodies saying things they should not."
Revelation21,8: "But as for the cowardly ... ... and liars of every kind, the lake that burns with sulpherous flames will be their portion, and that is the second death."
Judaism specifically reserves the right to kick folks out of the synagogue if they won't stop slanderously gossiping or tale bearing (Oxford Dictionary of Jewish Religion "Slander" or for a readible and in depth study of all things gossipy see reformjudaismag.org "Oops I shouldn't have said that...", Margeret Moers Wenig, Summer 2002).
Can you imagine if we Christians started kicking folks out of the pews and pulpits for gossip and calumny?
Wait wait...Don't gossip!
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Tobin Hitt is the founder of the Zion Pentecost Mission. He is open to gospel partnership with all, and identifies with Paul's description of our mission as ambassadors for our king, Jesus, urging all to reconcile with God (2Cor.20-21). He resides in Cheshire, Connecticut.read more...