How gossip grieves God!
29Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. 30And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. 31Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. 32Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.”
Ephesians 4:29-32 (NIV)
Do Words Really Hurt?
29Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.
21The tongue can bring death or life;
those who love to talk will reap the consequences.
Proverbs 18:21 (NLT)
“What seeds are the words I speak planting in other people’s lives?”
Why Do We Gossip?
“Everything that is said should be true; not everything that is true must be said.”
9He also told this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and treated others with contempt: 10"Two men went up into the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. 11The Pharisee, standing by himself, prayed thus: 'God, I thank you that I am not like other men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. 12I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I get.' 13But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even lift up his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, 'God, be merciful to me, a sinner!' 14I tell you, this man went down to his house justified, rather than the other. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted."
Luke 18:9-14 (ESV)
How Do We Avoid Gossip?
4Wrongdoers eagerly listen to gossip;
liars pay close attention to slander.
Proverbs 17:4 (NLT)
30And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. 31Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. 32Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.
Sunday’s sermon brought our attention to an often overlooked component of our speech...Gossip. The way that we handle our tongue and ultimately the way that we speak is a huge part of the individual process of sanctification. As a group, take some time to discuss the following uses of the tongue.
1. In what ways are we to refrain from using our tongue in speech?
2. In what ways are we instructed and encouraged to use our tongue?
3. What would your estimate be for how many of your daily words are used in a way that we are scripturally instructed, in a way that would please God?
Research shows that humans speak, on average, just under 6 million words a year. So if in question three, you estimated that 80% of your words were used in a way in which the Bible instructs us to use our words, then 20% of your words are used in ways that are not biblical. That means that 1.2 million OF YOUR words a year are used to tear down, hurt, gossip, lie, manipulate, deceive, or to facilitate some other nefarious or sinful intention.
Words are incredibly powerful! They can be used to encourage and inspire, or they can be used to destroy and harm. Because of this truth, let’s look at a simple equation concerning our words and how we use them.
4. As a group, read and discuss Proverbs 18:21. What do we learn from these verses?
5. Since words have such power, what does Jesus Christ say about the way that we use words? As a group, turn to Matt. 12:36 to answer this question.
This is important! Please, think about this! We would have no problem understanding that a righteous God would condemn profane, vile, our course speech--but careless speech? How often are we careless with our words. How often do we say something without thought for how it will be received or how it will impact someone else?
How does the bible say that we are to use our words? Let’s take a look.
6. As a group, read Matt. 5:44. What are we supposed to use our words for regarding our enemies?
7. Read Proverbs 20:19, Proverbs 16:28. What do these passages say about how we should use our words?
8. Read Matt. 5:37. How does this passage tell us to use our words?
9. Read Eph 4:29. How does this passage tell us to use our words?
So we see from scripture that we should use our words in a particular way--to help, encourage and to build up others. So how do we begin to make this transformation if we are someone who uses our words in a careless, hurtful, or sinful way? Scripture is very clear about this; it says that we are to adjust our hearts! Matt 15:18 says that the words that come out of our mouths are directly from our heart. If we speak this way, we need to spend more time with God asking Him to change our hearts so that we can honor Him with our words.