Backbiting, Gossiping and Talebearing are very deadly and very dangerous besetting sins. These are sins that we use our tongue to commit. These besetting sins recruit others to fulfill its endeavour while destroying a person, a community, nations and even countries. It destroys families, churches, friendships, businesses, careers etc. These besetting begins like the water fall above and pour and pours until is spreads all around far and wide soaking and affecting everything as the waterfall below.
Attacks the character or reputation of a person who is not present. In Matthew 18:15-17 the bible warns us that if we have something against someone to tell it to that person ONLY “Moreover if thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone: if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother. But if he will not hear thee, then take with thee one or two more, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established. And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell it unto the church: but if he neglect to hear the church, let him be unto thee as an heathen man and a publican” Note the following verse in Matthew 18:18 Jesus says, “Whatsoever ye shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever ye shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.”
Today many of us are binding and loosing things while we have been engaged in sinful habit of telling everyone else what our brothers and sisters have done instead of saying it to them. We are then very surprise why we have been praying for and about things without receiving the answers and we are then surprised; no answer comes or no solution come either. To speak unfavourably about a person who is not present is deceitful and devilish – that is why Jesus tells us to tell it to them only and only if we are not received then we bring before anyone else. Most people have a shamefully poor understanding of how evil backbiting actually is, even though the Scriptures are very clear on this point. Both the Old and the New Testaments measured out terrible judgment to those who are backbiters.
People in this besetting sin generally defend their backbiting by maintaining that what they say is true. The very expression “backbiting” speaks for itself because it’s being done behind a person’s back. The very name is disturbing; as we are basically biting a back and if we really think about the word who in their right mind would bite anyone’s back. Therefore, the very act of backbiting is ungodly in itself. Anyone of us who engage in this besetting sin cause us to be in a very bad spirit. As such people are incapable of keeping only to the truth when they backbite. We are told in Psalm 15:1-3 how God expect us to be if we want His abiding presence in our lives. “Lord, who shall abide in thy tabernacle? He that walketh uprightly, and worketh righteousness, and speaketh the truth in his heart. He that backbiteth not with his tongue, nor doeth evil to his neighbour, nor taketh up a reproach against his neighbour.”
In revealing to us the dangers and effects of backbiting; the Bible says,… “they are whisperers, backbiters … who, knowing the righteous judgement of God, that those who practice such things are deserving of death, not only do the same, but also approve of those who practice them” (Romans 1;29-32). It continues with, “Therefore you are inexcusable. O man, whoever you are who judge, for in whatever you judge another you condemn yourself for thou that judgest doest the same things” (Romans 2:1). Many have fallen because of the tongue! We must wake up and see this besetting sin; see the seriousness of it and submit to God so that we do not engage in it no more. That’s why God ask us to quickly forgive, so that we give no occasion to our fleshly feelings which will lead us into other besetting sins such as offence, anger, bitterness and unforgiveness to name a few.
Most of us are not strangers to Gossip – we have listened to it, spread it, and been the victim of it!
Who Tells The Tale/Gossip?Webster’s Dictionary
A talebearer is a person who maliciously gossips or reveals secrets; that may cause trouble or harm; one who impertinently or maliciously communicates secrets and makes mischief. Talebearing/Gossiping is so accepted in our culture; in families that almost everyone goes around doing it not realizing how wrong and how sinful it is. In fact, they are besetting sins; that besets us all and the fruit of this sin is that it poisons the hearer. God considers this sin to be so dangerous that it is listed among the things we do that causes God’s wrath to fall upon us. In 1 Romans 1:17 the bible says, “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness.” The bible tells us that those of us who engage in gossiping or talebearing will cause the wrath of God to fall upon us. The bible continues in Romans 1:20 that we are without excuse, for God show it unto us through His words. When we behave in this manner we are “Professing (ourselves) to be wise, (we) became fools, in verses 29-30, the bible says that we are filled with unrighteousness and that we are haters of God.
- It feeds a false sense of superiority in our own hearts; it makes us feel little better about ourselves. Talebearing makes us secretly and falsely believe that we are better than the other person in pointing out their faults; who we think that they are and what we think they have done.
- Sows distrust among each other; leaders, family, friends, etc.
- It arms our personal or spiritual witness. How could someone trust what you say is true about God when they cannot trust themselves with you.
- It destroys your integrity, in ministry, families, business or with friends.
- Our integrity is more valuable than gold. The definition of integrity is the quality of being honest and fair. Talking about another person who is not present or in a negative manner brings question upon our character. It tells a lot about us.
- It arms or end relationships. When we hear that someone is talking about us and not in a very positive light; automatically you feel to cut the person and if you are like me you do not want to have nothing to do with them ever again; if not for the GRACE of GOD – the DIVINE ENABLEMENT – that is the divine ability to forgive a wrong and to see whatever wrongs someone does they have already done it to themselves and also God helps us to see them through His eyes.
- It ruins reputations – in that is can have lasting and irreparable effects. It causes avoidance of certain people and judgment made about them – this affects groups of people; how they are seen and/or perceived. There are many situation where talebearing has destroyed families, ministries, careers and businesses.
- It will come back to haunt us – think about how we feel when we hear that someone says something about us. That is enough for us to never engage in this type of destructive behaviour that does not build but instead breaks.
Quotes About Talebearing/Gossiping
- A gossip betray a confidence; so avoid anyone who talks too much.
- Gossip dies when it hits a wise person’s ears.
- Listen not to a tale-bearer, for he tells thee nothing out of good-will; but has he discover the secrets of others; so he will of your in turn.
- Gossip is the devil’s radio so don’t be his DJ.
- Without wood a fire goes out; without a talebearer a quarrel dies down.
Scriptures About Talebearing
- Leviticus 19:16 “Thou shalt not go up and down as a talebearer among thy people: neither shalt thou stand against the blood of thy neighbor; I am the LORD
- Psalm 15 “LORD, who shall abide in thy tabernacle? who shall dwell in thy holy hill? He that walketh uprightly, and worketh righteousness, and speaketh the truth in his heart. He that backbiteth not with his tongue, nor doeth evil to his neighbour, nor taketh up a reproach against his neighbour.
- “Proverbs 11:13 “A talebearer revealeth secrets: but he that is of a faithful spirit concealeth the matter.”
- Proverbs 16:28 “A false man soweth contention; and a talebearer separateth very friends.
- Proverbs 18:8 “The words of a talebearer are as wounds, and they go down into the innermost parts of the belly.”
- Proverbs 20:19 “He that goeth about as a talebearer revealeth secrets: therefore meddle not with him that flattereth with his lips.”
- Proverbs 26:20 “Where no wood is, there the fire goeth out: so where there is no talebearer, the strife ceaseth.”Proverbs 26:22 “The words of a talebearer are as wounds, and they go down into the innermost parts of the belly.”
- Proverbs 17:9 “He that covereth a transgression seeketh love; but he that repeateth a matter separateth very friends.”
- Proverbs 18:21 “Death and life are in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof.”
Things That Listening to Gossip/Talebearing Will Kill
(Pastor Jack Hyles)
1. It will kill your spirit. The spirit of a man can sustain him in the most difficult situations, but once a man’s spirit has been wounded, he cannot bear the difficulties of life. The wounded spirit comes from accepting poison about others. You will spiritually destroy yourself if you accept those tasty deadly morsels. Once a person comes to me with a tale about anybody, I look at him like a person pointing a loaded gun to my head. They want to hurt me even though they do not know it. I do not want anyone to destroy my spirit. I will not allow deadly poison to enter my mind. Once the spirit has been destroyed, it is almost impossible to get back.
2. It will kill your trust. How do I stay upbeat with so many enemies who are trying to destroy me? I ignore them! I do not read their letters or take their phone calls. I do not want them to destroy my spirit and prevent me from helping those people who need me.One of the saddest statements I hear over and over again is, “I have just about lost all of my confidence in preachers.” The reason that has happened is because you have been drinking poison. You are the one who is being destroyed. Most preachers are good and godly men; yet, your trust in them has been damaged by the poison.
3. It will kill your joy. I can look out at my people and spot the ones who have been listening to poison. Their spiritual joy is gone, and I can see it in their faces. Tragically, the joy of the Lord is hard to restore. I have remained full of joy because I have refused to drink the poison. People worry about me because I am so criticized and slandered; yet, I am not the one who drank the poison. The hearers of the slander are the ones who are in danger of losing their joy. Even if I hated someone, I would not want to know anything bad about him because it would poison and destroy me. That is why I still am so happy. I do not know bad about people because I refuse to listen. That is the secret to keeping your joy! Fundamental churches are all fighting the same battle because the Devil hates soul winning. Pastors have been destroyed because they listened, but they would not have been destroyed if they had been the objects of slander instead of the hearers!Hyles taught pastors how to handle accusations and conflict in their churches. One line that stood out — I heard Hyles say it several times was If You Didn’t See It, It Didn’t Happen. Hyles often talked about gossip and false allegations, telling pastors that they should teach congregants not to believe such things unless they saw them for themselves. Hyles had Biblical support for his approach:Rebuke not an elder, but entreat him as a father … Let the elders that rule well be counted worthy of double honour, especially they who labour in the word and doctrine. For the scripture saith, thou shalt not muzzle the ox that treadeth out the corn. And, The labourer is worthy of his reward. Against an elder receive not an accusation, but before two or three witnesses. (1 Timothy 5:1, 17-19)
Gossips And Talebearers – What Gossip/Talebearing Does
by Gene Taylor
- It perpetuates lies that ought to have died. The overwhelming majority of hurtful rumors are false (Acts 21:21). Did you ever play the game “Gossip” at a party. It’s the one where someone whispers something to a person at the head of a line who, in turn, whispers it to the one next in line, etc.? If you have, you know that anything that is repeated several times is often inaccurately remembered and conveyed and does not resemble what was first said. Our memories are not infallible thus we perpetuate things which are not true. We should allow hurtful rumor to die (Prov. 26:20).
- It assassinates character and makes innocent people suffer. Innocent people are not only labeled but also labeled without just cause. When we have participated in ruining someone’s good name, we have rendered them a grave injustice (Proverbs 22:1). Gossip can destroy the local church or make its work very difficult. One man on a bulldozer in one short hour can pull down a sizable building that took many people much time to build. In like manner, one gossip can destroy in a very short time the years of labor good, honest have invested in building up the body of Christ.
- It is usually one-sided, biased and extremely prejudicial (Prov. 18:17). Wrong conclusions are often reached when one hears only one side of a story. It destroys friendship (Proverbs 16:28; 17:9). Irreparable harm is often inflicted upon long-lasting relationships. The old hymn “Angry Words” states, “Love is much too pure and holy, Friendship is too sacred far, For a moment’s reckless folly, Thus to desolate and mar.” Gossiping is an ugly, ungodly, deceitful and soul-destroying habit that, if you have it, must be broken, repented of and replaced with words that edify (Ephesians 4:29-32).
We Must All Be Careful:
We must never engage in backbiting, gossiping or talebearing . Why? The way we conduct ourselves reveals our character and shows what we lack. No matter how we appear to look; what we allow into our hearing determines our submission and obedience to the word of God. The bible tells us in James 1:26 what spiritual maturity looks like. “If anyone thinks himself to be religious and does not bridle his tongue but deludes his own heart, this person’s religious service is worthless.” Backbiting, gossiping and talebearing are tools of the devil and anyone of us engage in this manner we are serving the devil in doing his bidding. Many of us does these things without thinking are realizing first of all what God’s word says about it and also how damaging we are being to our neighbours whom God told us to love as ourselves and ultimately our own souls. When the love of God is truly in us we are not only hearers of God’s word but we are doers of God’s words and if God says backbiting, gossipping, and/or talebearing are sins that will hinder us; then we must repent so God can forgive us and help us to do them no more.
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