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Sentence Sermons (Christian Inspiration) #50 --- Gossip

Updated on March 8, 2011

Quotations on Gossip

Gossip is the chief hell maker.

—Nephi Jensen, Deseret News, Salt Lake City, Utah, Feb. 15, 1928.

Those who have the latest bit of gossip to relate and those who are ever ready to lend ear to such scandal are not possessed by the Spirit of God, but are breathing fire from hell and the devil himself. It is such lack of Christian practice by professed Christians that leads infidels and agnostics to sneer at Christianity and to refrain from the investigation of Christian truth.

—Joseph P. Lynch, Dallas Morning News, Dallas, Texas, Sept. 16, 1907.

Gossipers should remember that the commandment, "Thou shalt not kill," probably referred to characters as well as bodies.

—W.A. MacKenzie, Florida Times-Union, Jacksonville, Fla., Dec. 3, 1923.

The gossiper is the devil's mail bag.

—Ernest C. Wareing, Western Christian Advocate, Cincinnati, Ohio, Oct. 24, 1923.

When you feel like gossiping, pray. If all of us would embrace these words of wisdom, one heck of a lot of praying would be going on, and an army of human beings would be saved from being nailed to the wall by the evil spikes of vicious tongues.

—B. Davis Evans, Spanish Fork Press, Spanish Fork, Utah, April 6, 1977.

The talebearer is composed of the scraps of creation. A talebearer will walk a mile on the scent of gossip, but would not go a block to hear something elevating. Talebearer is a lieutenant in Satan’s army. He works hard without pay. He is an immoral dissector of character.

—Arthur Growden, The Commercial Dispatch, Columbus, Miss., Feb. 14, 1928.

When you hear an ill report about anyone, halve it, and quarter it, and then say nothing about the rest.

—David M. Gardner, Baptist Standard, Dallas, Texas, Feb. 5, 1948.

Gossip is the lowest down business in the world. Humanity is naturally so egotistical that it has a low, sneaking habit of comparing itself with other people to the detriment of the others. To indulge in this weakness instead of trying to throttle it is only to sink lower and lower in the scale of being. Envy, malice, jealousy, all these are mixed up in gossip, and egotism stands spread-legged over the prostrate and groveling soul of the gossiper. A human being who would be free and independent and large stands up to this ogre of egotism instead of becoming a slave to it. All this is self-preservation to say nothing of consideration for the well being of others.

—Burris A. Jenkins, Kansas City Post, Kansas City, Mo., March 23, 1919.

"Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor." (Exodus 20:16.) Man is made in the image of God. Killing is evil because it ends a life made in the image of God. Adultery is evil because it is disloyalty to a human being made in the image of God. Theft is evil because it invades the property rights of a human being made in the image of God. A lie is evil because it harms a human being made in the image of God. ...

False witness is more prevalent than murder, adultery, or robbery. People who are otherwise respectable engage in talebearing and detraction every day of their lives. Friend sits with friend and discusses a third party in a derogatory way. They cannot be sent to jail for it. And they feel all the more virtuous by contrast with the shortcomings of the third party under discussion. ...

Our concern for our own reputation makes it easy to harm others in that respect. We try to establish our own reputation by shy insinuations concerning others. We accomplish our purpose by faint praise, or by pitying our victim in our conversation with others.

This commandment forbids all this cowardly and dishonest dealing with the reputation of another. It is directed against all talebearing and detraction. It commands us to be extremely careful of the reputation of others. ...

Falsifying is wrong. It disregards the sacredness of personality.

—Frank A. Godsoe, Amarillo Times, Amarillo, Texas, June 12, 1949.

Avoid gossip as you would an enemy; it is one of Satan's best agents for starting church troubles.

—Lastie N. Hoffpauir, Sabine Index, Many, La., July 14, 1939.

All of us seem to have an urge to talk about the shortcomings and failures of others. Perhaps it helps us to overlook the less desirable aspects of our own lives and living. Gossip purveys not the better things about a person but the questionable things. Gossip is never careful to the factually correct. Indeed, we can count on it that gossip as it moves from person to person becomes factually distorted if not entirely false.

Undoubtedly gossip is one of the most frequent violations of the obligation to be truthful by Christian people. Yet it is vicious. Many are the reputations that have been blasted by gossip. Many are the churches and communities that have been rent apart by resentment and misunderstandings as a result of gossip. Indeed it is impossible to engage in gossip without doing injury to someone.

—W. Barker Hardison, Religious Herald, Richmond, Va., June 5, 1952.

Ears grow so big listening to gossip that they are not delicate enough to hear the still, sweet voice of God.

—W.A. MacKenzie, Florida Times-Union, Jacksonville, Fla., Nov. 13, 1923.

"Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor." (Exodus 20:16.) Some bear false witness by silence, by refusing to set another right when they might, by allowing slander to go uncorrected, or even by a significant lifting of the shoulder or raising an eyebrow. Others bear false witness by carelessly passing along a damaging story whose falsity they might have learned by a little investigation. These methods of bearing false witness are likely to do as much harm as the slander which has malice back of it, the deliberate intention to injure, though of course the latter kind of false witness has the blacker guilt. Both are absolutely condemned by a God of love, and no one who loves his fellowman will be guilty of either.

—J.E. Nunn, Amarillo Daily News, Amarillo, Texas, Aug. 22, 1926.

"Speak evil of no man." (Titus 3:2.) There is probably no sin greater among the children of God than speaking evil one of another, and this vicious habit the New Testament continually denounces. Half of the evil things that we say about other people are not true. The other half should be left unsaid. Many a man has been crushed, and his life overcast with a dark shadow for years, and his very desire to live uprightly taken away from him by hearing what someone else had said some terrible, bitter, wicked things about him.

—J.E. Nunn, Amarillo Daily News, Amarillo, Texas, Oct. 23, 1937.

Assailing the inner possessions of life, gossip tends to become a form of murder, for there is no opportunity for self-defense, nor for rational explanation. It strikes at ambition, it lays in wait for hope and cares naught for repentance.

To listen to gossip is to expose oneself to a contagion that is poisoning and immoral in its effects. ... Gossip is as the garbage of life, and as I am unwilling to touch the refuse of the garbage can, so should I be unwilling to touch gossip with my mind and my spirit.

The three kinds of gossip are malicious, careless and unnecessary. Malicious gossip not only weakens the person or individual, but tears down the principle or the cause to which he is devoted.

There's something wrong with a life that finds bad in everyone, and there's something wrong with the life that can't find something good in everyone.

Causes of gossip are idleness, prejudice, and irreligion. Gossipers are lives with all sympathy gone. The cures for gossip are silence, a definite religious experience and an endeavor to find the good.

—George S. Fulcher, Dallas Morning News, Dallas, Texas, March 2, 1914.

In no way are we so tempted to sin as by the evil use and abuse of the tongue. ... The use of the tongue is a sure indication of one's temperament or imposition.

Besides the vicious use of the tongue, we sin by using it to peddle other frailties. We have two eyes and one tongue so that we shall tell only half what we see. Generally the proportion is the other way. It is a of Christians to retail the weaknesses of brethren. We sin also by false witnessing; we need to tell so little and so seldom what is to our brother's discredit, that when we add to the superfluous, lying use of the tongue, we have one of the most dangerous elements in a society.

Paul spoke about "whisperers," and have we not met them? (Romans 1:29.) Those who rely upon the cowardly authority of "they say" to support their innuendos against others, deserve only sweeping condemnation. ... Once started, a foul aspersion never loses life. "A lie travels around the world while the truth is getting on its boots," said Spurgeon. And he or she is as guilty as listening as the one who starts the story. ...

To prepare our tongue for the grandest employment is our privilege now. A bridle for the tongue can only be prepared by the love of God. In the presence of a world that loves evil, he who desires to be right will take heed not only to the ampler forms of evil, but to that which tempts the best of us.

—Frederick A. Hatch, Dallas Morning News, Dallas, Texas, Oct. 4, 1897.

“He that uttereth a slander is a fool.” (Proverbs 10:18.) He is foolish because he destroys the emotions of joy in his own and in his brother’s heart, and makes a desolate ruin of their good feelings, has evil act resulting in disunion and strife. We are informed from the same source, and experience has proven it to be correct, that “the Lord hateth a lying tongue” (Proverbs 6:17); and He also “hateth a false witness, that speaketh lies, and he that soweth discord among brethren.” (Proverbs 6:19.)

The Spirit of God will not dwell in unclean tabernacles, nor strive with a lying tongue. If Saints wish to enjoy the Holy Ghost, and those sweet and soothing influences that follow in its train, their speech must be clean and pure from backbiting and evil-speaking, as their tabernacles must be pure and free from the contaminating degradations of the world’s wickedness. If this be not the case, they need to repent, lest the light of truth which they have known shall become gross darkness, and they be cut off from the mercies of God.

Remember that “where no wood is, there the fire goeth out; so where there is no talebearer, the strife ceaseth.” (Proverbs 26:20.) Lies and thoughtless tales are like wood added to a burning fire. As the flames would cease without the fuel, so would many of the troubles that now exist ... if each person for himself would tell the truth alone, and say that only when there is occasion for it. [People] should learn to bridle and control their tongues. By constant effort and prayers to God for His assistance this can be done, and being accomplished, they can show to the world that their faith is not in vain. “If any man among you seem to be religious, and bridleth not his tongue, but deceiveth his own heart, this man’s religion is vain.” (James 1:26.)

—E.H. Anderson, Millennial Star, Liverpool, England, Sept. 26, 1892.

"If any man among you seem to be religious, and bridleth not his tongue, but deceiveth his own heart, this man's religion is vain." (James 1:26.)

Really an evil tongue wouldn't be much harm unless there was an evil ear to listen to that evil tongue. They are indeed companions in crime.

It is a very serious thing to commit a crime, and it is a very serious thing to be a companion in crime. Young people can cross the line from a prank to a crime before they know it. That is why we caution our boys and girls to try to associate with those who want to do right, who love the Lord, and who make an honest effort because no one is safe in the wrong crowd. None us of are. Remember Peter cursed and swore when he got into the wrong crowd. He swore that he never knew the Lord.

The gift of speech is a wonderful gift of God. Some have said that God has distinguished us from the breasts of the field in no greater way than giving us the power of speech. How wonderful that we can communicate. Yet, the tongue can be turned to evil purposes.

James says it is like a little match that starts a fire, and all of hell is on fire. (See James 3:6.). So much evil is done. It is tragic when we develop a dirty mouth and an evil tongue. Blasphemy has always been wrong. Gossip has always been wrong. To use this great gift of God in a way that is evil is tragic indeed.

There is something else just as bad--that is the evil ear. Of course the ability to hear is a great and wonderful blessing. But an evil ear is like an evil tongue. They are companions in crime. It won't do me any good to gossip unless I have that evil ear to listen to my evil tongue.

It takes one to know one. An evil tongue has to have a companion in crime--an evil ear. The Bible talks of itching ears. "The time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears." (2 Timothy 4:3.) How true that is when it comes to evil.

We can control what we hear as well as what we say to a great extent. I don't have to listen to filth and trash and blasphemy. The Bible says, "Take heed therefore how you hear." (Luke 8:18.) The ability to hear and the ability to talk are great and wonderful blessings of God, and should be used correctly.

—David Holland, Beauregard Daily News, DeRidder, La., April 26, 1996.

"Speak not evil one of another, brethren." (James 4:11.) We love to think of the amazing possibilities of human speech for good rather than for evil.

Under domination of the devil it is the enemy of all righteousness, engine of all wickedness, the expression of the murderous nature and lying vanities of the prince of evil.

This mournful fact is emphasized in the text and "evil speaking" pointed out as a common and criminal use of the tongue. Evil speaking consists in divulging the shortcomings and dwelling on the failings of one another needlessly.

The forked tongue of slander need not get in its work to bring down upon it the curse and malediction of a broken law. What we speak may be partially, may be wholly true and still violate this precept. We are called upon sometimes to testify the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth to protect the innocent and expose the guilty.

Holding up one another's faults to the public gaze, making them subjects of conversation, delighting in their exposure, in dark and mysterious insinuations by winks and nods, involving the name of our fellow and leaving others to believe the worst.

Taking up a reproach against our neighbor with no higher authority than the reports of madam rumor and the colorings and exaggerations of "they say."

Time would fail me to speak of all the causes of this great wrong, a cold and cruel nature, hard and selfish, devoid of the kindlier sentiments of the human heart.

A malicious and revengeful spirit sends forth with a lighted candle searching for the blunders of a brother and green-eyed envy takes up her abode with another possession such a one, with a desire to monopolize all the reputation for goodness by detracting from others.

Impertinence and vulgar curiosity is a fruitful source of evil speaking. How great is the evil? If true, its pernicious effect upon the one spoken of is sometimes ruinous; sinking his credit, exposing his defects instead of veiling them with the mantel of charity, and if false it is verbal assassination, the very next thing to murder of his person.

The evil-speaker and the tale-bearer keep society in a state of distraction, producing broils and strife and leading even to the shedding of blood.

Is there any cure for this loathsome disease?

"Jesus, my God, thy blood alone hath power sufficient to atone."

—W.B. Baldwin, Dallas Morning News, Dallas, Texas, Jan. 11, 1897.

I beseech of you to correct one fault–severe speech of others. Never speak evil of any man, no matter what the facts may be. Hasty faultfinding and severe speech of absent people is not honorable, is apt to be unjust and cruel, makes enemies to yourself and is wicked.

—Henry Ward Beecher, The Atlanta Constitution, Atlanta, Ga., Jan. 6, 1901.

We are not justified in speaking evil of our brethren and sisters, but more especially if that evil be mere rumor and has no foundation in fact.

Reputations are frequently damaged and almost destroyed in this way by falsehood, and injuries are committed that sometimes cannot be repaired in this life. Slanders are circulated; they go from tongue to tongue, until the air seems to be thick with them; and character is blackened and wrongs are committed which produce great sorrow, and frequently with but little or no cause.

It is a dreadful evil, and where practiced it should be repented of. Those who engage in it ... undoubtedly will bring upon themselves the displeasure of God.

—George Q. Cannon, Juvenile Instructor, Salt Lake City, Utah, Sept. 15, 1887.

Gossip is among the ways in which words are used. This is one of the worst ways and creates problems. Contention is one of the results of gossip.

A fire will quickly go out without wood to burn. Without the gossip and rumor necessary to keep it burning many problems would quickly be extinguished. But gossip fuels the fire of discontent.

As the embers allow the fire to smolder and then to flame up, so the gossiping person keeps trouble brewing. ...

The reason is that gossip seems so delicious. People savor it like good food. But it is really bad news.

—James E. Carter, Baptist Message, Alexandria, La., July 31, 1975.

The more good a man does and the more he accomplishes for others, the quicker some people are to grab at the first evil report that is started about him and keep the report on the jump. You could not be good enough to keep some people from gossiping about you. The man called the Christ was the victim of every foul report, and rumors finally brought Him to the cross, yet under examination Pilate said: "I find no fault in him." (John 19:4, 6.)

—A.J. Gearheard, The Shreveport Times, Shreveport, La., Feb. 2, 1919.

The talebearers love to gossip about people of whom they are jealous or hate. That sort of gossip creates an attitude of contempt in the minds of the individuals to whom it is told. Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself even in your remarks about him.

Vile and vulgar stories about your acquaintances should stop with you and not multiplied through repetitions. By the kind of gossip that people tell in quiet you can judge largely about their characters.

—C. Everett Wagner, New York Times, New York, N.Y., June 7, 1926.

The gossips and the hypocrites are twins.

Idaho Statesman, Boise, Idaho, Jan. 25, 1918.


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