Sunday, July 16, 2023

Where There Is No Wood

By Brian Mitchell
    See if you can guess of whom or what the author is speaking. “I am more deadly than the screaming shell of a canon. I win without killing. I tear down homes, break hearts, wreck lives, and destroy churches. I travel on the wings of the wind. No innocence is strong enough to intimidate me, no purity pure enough to daunt me. I have no regard for truth, no respect for justice, no mercy for the defenseless. My victims are as numerous as the sands of the sea and often as innocent. I never forget and seldom forgive. My name is...?”
    Can you guess of whom or what he is speaking? Most of it sounds like a description of the devil himself. But that is not of whom the article speaks. Who or what could be so cruel and heartless? He ends this article by saying my name is GOSSIP!!! The abomination described in this article is something that indeed is very cruel and heartless, and is something very strongly condemned in the Bible. Yet still it is something often found on the lips of God’s children and we many times are not even aware that we are guilty of gossiping.
    The book of James provides perhaps the most graphic warnings about the tongue in the whole Bible—Jm.3:6 and Jm.3:8. There are very few sins that the Bible describes in more serious terms, and yet there are very few sins which receive so little thought or attention. As I said, there are times when we may not even be aware that we are gossiping and that is why it is so serious. This is why we need to understand what gossip is, so that we might never be guilty of it.
    Taming the tongue is not something that many of us often think about, until it gets us in trouble, or until we are the victim of someone else’s misuse of the tongue. What we must realize is the fact that there are few things in our possession that have the ability to do more harm and damage. With our hands we may take a person’s material goods or even their physical life. But with the tongue you may take a man’s dignity, his good name and reputation, and all that gives his life real value.
    Sadly, you can do all of these things without ever having the intention of doing so, all by getting caught in what may seem like at times harmless chit chat. As I have said before, we don’t get to decide how our words affect the lives of others, and that is why we must be extremely careful with the words we speak. Someone once said, “A three inch tongue can destroy a six foot man.”
    I know a preacher that once promised during his Sunday morning sermon that during his evening lesson he was going to preach about that congregation’s greatest sin. Of course, everyone came back that evening and heard a sermon on the subject of gossiping. The interesting part of the story was the next he received a call from one of his elders saying that two women from the church had called him to complain about the preacher’s sermon—do you see the problem with that??? Instead of calling the preacher to talk with him, these ladies called an elder.

    We should examine what the Bible says about Gossip and we must make this terrible yet often overlooked sin seriously and effectively handle situations where others want to share gossip with you.

- Brian Mitchell serves as a minister with the Jackson Church of Christ in Jackson, MO. He may be contacted through the congregation's website at

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