Living the Moral Life: Unforgiveness
A good friend who is also my Pastor is doing a series on “Living The Moral Life.” The article below is number 41 in this series. This particular talk is on gossip. I wish I could say that I have never been guilty of that particular sin. It seems that gossip today is more prevalent than it was when I was younger. Maybe that’s just selective remembering on my part. I think what I like so much about this article is Pastor Timothy Barr is not just giving us his opinion, he gives many biblical examples of why we should not be guilty of this particular sin. I know I am going to take this article close to my heart, and especially as we move into the Lenten season I am going to make more of an effort to hold my tongue. Please enjoy this article.
Living the Moral Life: Unforgiveness
A tell-tale sign that one has not forgiven is gossip. In fact, it produces unforgiveness in others. So not only does it condition the self to not forgive, but encourages others to fall into the same sin. It seems to be the favorite American pastime. But first, to help motivate us not to gossip, we need to understand why it is so wicked.
Gossip trains us and those whom we speak to, to harbor resentment, anger and even malice for our neighbor. We cannot enter into the Kingdom of God with this in our hearts. Gossip always takes a life of its own. Once it is out, the tales grow of who did or said what. I am sure you know the story of when a woman went to a wise priest with her struggle with gossip. He told her to take a pillow out into the town square and rip it open to let all the feathers out of it. The breeze took many of the feathers away. Then the priest told her to put all of them back in. Good luck with that! And so it is with gossip. Once the words are said, no matter how much you wish you could take them back, the damage is done. Then the person gossiping has the bad name. What comes around goes around. It is only a matter of time before the truth comes out and God avenges the innocent, provided they remain innocent. We have no idea how we hurt those whose name we degrade with gossip.
If we think we are speaking the truth and that gives us the full right to say bad things of others, think again. The Catechism of the Catholic Church states, “The right to the communication of the truth is not unconditional” (CCC# 2488). That includes the “right to privacy” (CCC2489). What if God were to say every bad thing we did and put it on every commercial on TV? Wouldn’t you feel violated of your privacy? God would have full rights to do so, but He doesn’t. He has mercy on us. We should return the kindness. There is no justifying gossip before Jesus. Although it is typically a venial sin, it is something that may keep you from heaven.
What does the Bible say about Gossip? Here are some interesting quotes:
Ephesians 4:29 Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.
Proverbs 6:16-19 There are six things that the Lord hates, seven that are an abomination to him: haughty eyes, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked plans, feet that make haste to run to evil, a false witness who breathes out lies, and one who sows discord among brothers.
Matthew 12:36 I tell you, on the day of judgment people will give account for every careless word they speak.
Romans 1:29 They were filled with all manner of unrighteousness, evil, covetousness, malice. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, maliciousness. They are gossips.
Psalm 64:2-4 Hide me from the secret plots of the wicked, from the throng of evildoers, who whet their tongues like swords, who aim bitter words like arrows, shooting from ambush at the blameless, shooting at him suddenly and without fear.
James 1:26 If anyone thinks he is religious and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his heart, this person’s religion is worthless.
To hear more from Pastor Timothy Barr, please go to: