One of the sins that Christians fall into most easily is gossip.  In some Christian congregations, if gossip were excluded, scarcely any kind of conversation would be left!
The dictionary offers the two following definitions of gossip:  1.  Casual and idle chat.  2.  Conversations involving malicious chatter or rumors about other people.
Two of the adjectives here applied to gossip are idle and malicious.  It is not enough for Christians to avoid malice in their talk.  In Matt. 12:36 Jesus warns against idle speech.  “But I say to you that for every idle word men may speak, they will give account of it in the day of judgment”.
Although the New Testament explicitly  forbids gossip many Christians regard it as a relatively “harmless” sin.  Most definitely this is not how God views it.  In Romans 1:29-30, Paul lists some of the consequences of man’s turning away from God.  Here is part of his list:  They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice.  They are gossips, slanders, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful”.  The position of gossips in this list is significant.  Some of the heart attitudes directly associated with gossip are strife, deceit and malice.  Gossips are classified with people who are slanderers and God-haters.  Christians who indulge in gossip may think of themselves as “exceptions”, but that is not how God sees them.
The words these people speak about others would not normally be described as “curses”, but their effect is the same!  They are in fact channels through which demonic forces are directed against other members of the Body of Christ.  Also, it is not only the person spoken about who are affected.  In James 3:6  the apostle says, “The tongue is so set among our members that it defiles the whole body.”  The believer who is guilty of gossip actually defiles both himself and that part of the body of Christ to which he is related.
In Matt. 7:1-2 Jesus says, “judge not, that you may not be judged.  For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you.”  From the verb translated “to judge” that the English word, criticize is derived.  If we find ourselves in disagreement with the conduct of a fellow believer.  It is permitted and sometimes necessary to meet with them face to face as in Gal 2:11.  Prov. 27:5 says “better is open rebuke than secret love.”
If we recognize that we have been guilty of gossip or wounding others with our tongues, we need to repent and to seek God’s forgiveness.  We may also need to ask forgiveness from those we have offended.

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