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On Gossip

“Whoever guards his mouth and tongue keeps his soul from troubles.” (Proverb 21:23)

We live in an age in which it seems that gossip is celebrated.

There are shows on television that exist solely so the “talking heads” in front of the cameras can yammer on incessantly about other people. It happens on FaceBook and in person all around us.

I’ve noticed that adolescents constantly talk about other adolescents for one main reason: they want to push the focus off themselves and onto pretty much anyone else.

Perhaps we are devolving into an entire culture of arrested adolescence.

Our culture is becoming a largely anti-God culture and as it increasingly resists God and His precepts and teachings we will see more examples of things like runaway gossip, lawlessness, violence, sexual predation, etc.

Without God, things are NOT getting better.

However, God still speaks.

“Whoever guards his mouth and tongue keeps his soul from troubles.” (Proverb 21:23 - NKJV)

Some of us still do love God and try to heed what He says.

In today’s Proverb the Hebrew word “shâmar” is used twice first as “guards” and then as “keeps”. It means the same thing both times: “”hedges about.”

Quite literally, it means “protects”.

The term “Whoever guards his mouth and tongue…” refers to what goes OUT of our mouths. God is making a point about something we can do about what we say and how we say it.

In the New Testament the Apostle Paul tells Titus to tell those he watches over to remember some things about how to live:

“Remind them to be subject to rulers and authorities, to obey, to be ready for every good work, to SPEAK EVIL OF NO ONE, to BE PEACEABLE, GENTLE, SHOWING ALL HUMILITY TO ALL MEN.” (Titus 3:1-2)

Paul’s Holy Spirit-led commands stand in contrast to our culture’s love of malicious gossip. Then he speaks to how they used to be before having God in their lives…which is the state of most of our culture today:

“For we ourselves were also once foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving various lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful and hating one another.” (Titus 3:3)

Our current culture is godless and foolish, disobedient to God, DECEIVED. It serves various lusts and pleasure (get this: people SERVE lusts and pleasure as slaves) and it lives in malice, envy, hating one another.

Many people in our current culture live like this…not guarding their mouths and tongues and, brothers and sisters, many Christians are allowing the world to pollute us. FAR too many of us live JUST LIKE THIS!

Let’s look at today’s proverb again and see the rest of what it says:

“Whoever guards his mouth and tongue keeps his soul from troubles.” (Proverb 21:23 - NKJV)

It says that whoever guards (hedges about) what comes out of his mouth “keeps (protects) his soul from troubles.”

That’s right. When we choose to NOT copy the world….when we watch what we say and how we say it we are actually PROTECTING our own souls from troubles (adversities, afflictions, anguish, distresses, tribulations, troubles).

I wonder how much soul distress Christians could save themselves if they would just be aware of what they were saying….and chose, instead, to obey God:

“Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, so that it will give grace to those who hear.” (Ephesians 4:29 – NASB)

Although I do not use The Message version of the Bible for study, sometimes it expresses things so clearly and sensibly that I enjoy how it puts things.

“Watch your words and hold your tongue; you'll save yourself a lot of grief.” (Proverb 21:23 – The Message)

May we Christians live in contrast to an ever declining world, especially when it comes to the temptation to gossip.

Pastor Mike McInerney

Mike McInerney Ministries, Inc.

Decatur, TX

© January 21, 2017

(For use with permission)

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