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Posts Tagged ‘Matthew Mitchell’


Everybody has done it. No, not that it. I’m talking about gossip, and while I’m sure a couple of people in addition to Jesus haven’t partaken of gossip, the number is quite small. Even little children gossip; we call it tattling. Elderly women are known for being busy bodies. We do it at lunch with co-workers, over dinner with friends and over the phone with other members of our church. Gossip is such a part of us we usually don’t know that we are doing it. There are whole industries devoted to feeding our appetite for gossip. But when we are caught we feel nearly as much shame as if we were doing the other thing.

28 And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done. 29 They were filled with all manner of unrighteousness, evil, covetousness, malice. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, maliciousness. They are gossips, 30 slanderers, haters of God, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, 31 foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless. 32 Though they know God’s righteous decree that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them. Romans 1

There aren’t many books that deal with gossip which is strange for such a common sin. We minimize how serious it is, but it shows up in the list of sins found in Romans 1. Often we focus on the sins of others, especially those outside of the church, and neglect those sins that have a serious foothold among those in the church.

Resisting Gossip by Matthew C. Mitchell is not only a much needed contribution but an excellent contribution that should be read by church leaders and …. well, just about everybody (see my intro above, and note the questions at the end of each chapter). Mitchell always keeps an eye on the gospel as he exegetes our hearts and shows us how to fight the war of the wagging tongue (to play on his subtitle). He also follows a thoughtful plan in laying out the book.

Mitchell begins with a definition of sinful gossip. His working definition is “the sin of gossip is bearing bad news about behind someone’s back out of a bad heart.” This recognizes a few things. There are times in which it is okay to bear bad news about a person. Church discipline would be impossible if we could not do that. It has to do with the motivation. The motivation of gossip is usually to either be “in the know” or to harm the other person’s reputation.

Like the author, I am an information junkie. In my counseling classes we often talked about “the vows” that people make to never be hurt again. Or look stupid again. Or …. I remember a time when I was about 12. A teammate’s father was giving me a ride home from a basketball game. He asked if I liked BTO (Bachman-Turner Overdrive for those of you not in the know). Clueless as to what he meant. I felt embarrassed, and didn’t want to feel that again. It begins to dominate you life, and it knows no bounds. You move from facts about stuff to the dirt on people. It feels good to be in the know. It feels horrible to be the last to know.

“There are a number of sinful heart motivations that can produce sinful gossip. The good news is that the gospel of Jesus Christ has answers for them all.”

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