I know it has been a couple of months since our last post. Life has been quite busy that has kept me from writing. It has also been almost (5) months since a blog was written as part of our Temptation Series so let’s recap just to jog our memories of what we have studied. We first introduced the series using Abraham’s Nephew “Lot” as a case study about the danger of flirting with Temptation. We then covered the pitfalls of alcohol and drugs, pornography and promiscuity, adultery, gluttony, and moral / ethical compromise. You can also click here to read all of the posts in the Temptation Series. Our theme verse for the series is from 1 Corinthians 10:13 which says:
Today’s pitfall is one that I think hits home for just about everyone to some degree, as we all have leaned into some juicy morsel that was being told to us. Now before you try to get on your high horse and deny it, scripture backs this up. Proverbs 18:8 (NLT) reveals:
“Rumors are dainty morsels that sink deep into one’s heart.”
A rumor is defined as a “circulating story or report of uncertain or doubtful truth.” And even though the validity is questionable, we latch onto the secret and run with it as though it was gospel. Today I want to unpack how this seemingly insignificant temptation can cause chaos in our life and how it’s paramount that we guard our hearts and not allow ourselves to give in to the pitfall to gossip (See Proverbs 4:23-24).
It’s funny the things that you remember. Now if you have been tracking with our Temptation Series, I have correlated a bible character with the particular sin to avoid the consequence of, but as I started to plan for this Thought about the perils of gossiping, I immediately reminisced about a VeggieTales video I watched with my kids when they were young called “Larry-Boy and the Rumor Weed.” Before you dismiss this parallel give me some grace to explain. I may be dating myself here but we had the VeggieTales video on VHS tape, (google that if you don’t know what that is). Though it was produced in 1999 and the special effects are not spectacular based on what is produced now, it’s still one of my favorites. This episode however gave my oldest daughter nightmares and to this day she says that is why she hates weeds! Hahaha! I hate them too! In fact, as a result of the mild winter, when spring came this year, weeds popped up all over my yard. And because it was so early in the season, the lawn care technician said we had to wait.
Well as we waited the weeds grew to be over a foot tall!! It was staggering to see how fast and tall the weeds got. And just like allowing the weeds to grow, when we allow gossiping to happen, it will spread to become an uncontrollable mess! In the VeggieTales episode, Larry-Boy is a cucumber action-hero who must thwart a plant spreading rumors in Bumblyburg. One of the things that I loved was the catchy song lyric from Larry-Boy’s archenemy:
That’s some good advice right there…“a tiny little story can make a big mess!” Though it cased my daughter to have nightmares, the way the Rumor Weed kept growing as the story spread to more and more people was really powerful because it showed how a little rumor that two kids started could produce a monstrous weed! And more importantly, it showed the consequences of yielding to the temptation as the city was under siege by a horticultural terror! I’m reminded of what Proverbs 18:20-21 (GNT) says:
“You will have to live with the consequences of everything you say. What you say can preserve life or destroy it; so you must accept the consequences of your words.”
Amen? Spreading rumors or gossiping is much more than just “dishing in the dirt,” words have the power of life and death (see Proverbs 18:21)! And when we allow gossip to proceed from of our mouths we open the door to all kinds of problems because Gossip snowballs. Just as the Veggie Monster grew larger as more and more gossip was spread, our participation and proliferation of rumors can cause devastation. I am sure you can remember a time in school or in the office when a story spun out of control and caused conflict. But Proverbs 26:20 (NLT) shows what will happen when we don’t join in…
“Fire goes out without wood, and quarrels disappear when gossip stops.”
You may be thinking to yourself, “I don’t spread rumors,” but maybe that’s because you don’t realize what gossip is. Rick Warren had this great insight:
“When we’re talking about a situation with somebody who is neither part of the problem or part of the solution, then were probably gossiping.”
I think we ALL are guilty of that!! There are so many scriptures in the book of Proverbs that warns about gossiping but Proverbs 17:9 (HCSB) gets to the heart of the matter:
“Whoever conceals an offense promotes love, but whoever gossips about it separates friends.”
If we truly want to love on others than we will keep our mouths shut! Otherwise we are asking for conflict in our friendships!
At one point of the VeggieTales show, this statement was made:
“How do you kill a weed?” The answer… “You go to the root.”
I know I am quoting this cartoon a lot but there are some really good nuggets to mine from it. If we want to combat the rumor weeds in our lives, we need to get to the root! To that end, I wanted to share with you an amazing message called “Necessary Sins Series – Part 2: Gossip“ by Craig Groeschel, Life Church.TV. He suggested this practical approach to overcome the sin of gossip by asking these (3) questions…
“Everything you say must be true but everything that is true does not need to be said…Is it helpful or is it hurtful. I want my words to lift others up rather than tear them down.” Craig Groeschel
2. Am I making private matters public? (See Proverbs 25:9-10) Proverbs 11:12-13 (NLT) says:
“It is foolish to belittle one’s neighbor; a sensible person keeps quiet. A gossip goes around telling secrets, but those who are trustworthy can keep a confidence.”
3. Am I permitting others to gossip? (See Proverbs 17:4)
“Not only is it wrong to speak the gossip, it’s also wrong to listen to the gossip. Why? What you permit, you promote…If you listen to it you are participating in it.” Craig Groeschel
I never really thought about that before, “What you permit, you promote.” Ouch! Something to think about, if you are listening to gossip about a friend or co-worker, what makes you think that when you are not around that person is not talking about you? And if that advice was not sufficient, I will close with what Jesus said in Matthew 12:33-35 (NLT):
“A tree is identified by its fruit. If a tree is good, its fruit will be good. If a tree is bad, its fruit will be bad. You brood of snakes! How could evil men like you speak what is good and right? For whatever is in your heart determines what you say. A good person produces good things from the treasury of a good heart, and an evil person produces evil things from the treasury of an evil heart.”
If we call ourselves followers of Christ, then our mouths should align with the truth! Just like a tree is identified by its fruit, then we should be people who do not join in when the gossiping starts and more to the point we should not allow it to continue in our presence! Amen?
I know I am pushing my luck, but if you will permit one more quotation from the Larry-Boy episode, I wanted to finish with this simple advice that the father told his son at the end that:
And that is what I want to leave with you today! Let our words point to the God we serve!
To dig a little deeper, check out:
Here is the link again if you want to watch the message
Necessary Sins Series – Part 2 – Gossip from Craig Groeschel.
If you are interested in watching the full episode of “Larry-boy and the Rumor Weed,” click here.