Communication: Whispering Gossip

6 August 2017 PM – Proverbs 16:28 – Comm17 –Scott Childs

Introduction: Pastor Kent Crockett gives this good advice about gossip. “If someone says to you, ‘Can you keep a secret?’ You tell them, ‘No, I can’t.  So don’t tell me!’” Kent Crockett’s Sermon Illustrations

Transition: This evening we are going to see what the book of Proverbs says about a Whispering Gossip. Before we do, let me define the terms we will find.

A talebearer is one who gossips indiscreetly. A gossip is one who runs about and tattles or tells idles tales. He or she wags the tongue and speaks about others, revealing secrets. A slanderer is one who attacks the reputation of another by false or harmful words. A whisperer is one who slanders secretly. A backbiter is another name for a slanderer.

1.        Talebearer
a.       (Proverbs 11:13) “A talebearer revealeth secrets: but he that is of a faithful spirit concealeth the matter.”
1)         Note the contrast here. The talebearer reveals secrets while the faithful conceal secrets.
2)         This is not talking about lying in court to cover a guilty person. It is talking about not sharing tales about a person with others.
b.       (Proverbs 20:19) “He that goeth about as a talebearer revealeth secrets: therefore meddle not with him that flattereth with his lips.”
1)         God defines the talebearer for us in this verse. He is one who reveals secrets.
2)         God compares the talebearer with one who flatters.
3)         We may know things or think we know things about another person, but if there is not a biblical reason, we have no right to share them with others.
4)         If a person has done wrong, the right thing to do is to speak to the accused person yourself (Mat 18:15-17).
2.        Whisperer
a.       (Proverbs 16:28) “A froward man soweth strife: and a whisperer separateth chief friends.”
1)         The Hebrew word translated whisperer has these definitions: to murmur, whisper, backbite, slander, talebear, or backbite.
2)         Remember, a whisperer is one who secretly slanders another.
3)         If what we are about to say is just spreading bad news and is not a step toward resolving the bad that we are about to say, it should not be said.
4)         Whispering gossip disguised as a prayer request is also evil.
b.       (Proverbs 18:8) “The words of a talebearer are as wounds, and they go down into the innermost parts of the belly.”
c.       (Proverbs 26:22) “The words of a talebearer are as wounds, and they go down into the innermost parts of the belly.”
1)         As you can see, these two verses are identical. Any time God repeats something more than once, He does it for emphasis.
2)         The word translated talebearer in these verses and the next come from the same Hebrew word as whisperer in Pr 26:28.
3)         The words of a talebearer or whisperer often cause wounds in the depths of the heart and emotions of the person spoken about. This is true whether the words are true or false. We have all done foolish sinful things that we regret and do not want broadcasted to the world.
d.       (Proverbs 26:20) “Where no wood is, there the fire goeth out: so where there is no talebearer, the strife ceaseth.”
1)         A talebearer is like one who adds wood to a fire. He increases the heat.
2)         When there is no talebearer the strife will stop. If someone is upset with you, do not add wood to the fire by saying unkind, secret, or hurtful things about them.
3.        Gossip
a.       (Proverbs 16:27) “An ungodly man diggeth up evil: and in his lips there is as a burning fire.”
1)         Though the word gossip is not found in the KJV Bible, the idea of it is often mentioned.
2)         It is not our job to dig up dirt about others and then with a burning passion spread the news around. That is wicked. That may be the way of worldly politics but it is not the way God wants His children to act.
b.       (Proverbs 17:9) “He that covereth a transgression seeketh love; but he that repeateth a matter separateth very friends.”
1)         When a person forgives a sin we have confessed and never brings it up again, he is showing love.
2)         If that person says he forgives but then tells others of what we did wrong, he is putting a wedge in the middle of our friendship. Remember how God forgives us? (Psalms 103:12) “As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us.” That is how we need to forgive others who confess their sins and forsake them.
4.        Slanderer
a.       (Proverbs 10:18) “He that hideth hatred with lying lips, and he that uttereth a slander, is a fool.”
1)         In the opening of this sermon we defined slanderer as one who attacks the reputation of another by false or harmful words.
2)         God says that we act like a fool, a stupid fellow or an arrogant one.
3)         It is like saying, “Look what this person did. I would NEVER do a thing like that.” Much slander is promoted by pride. (Proverbs 16:18) “Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall.”
b.       (Proverbs 25:9-10) “Debate thy cause with thy neighbour himself; and discover not a secret to another: Lest he that heareth it put thee to shame, and thine infamy turn not away.”
1)         The word translated infamy is the same word as is translated slander in Pr 10:18.
2)         If we reveal bad secrets about others, we will be shamed and our evil report will have no end.
3)         Gossip has been compared to breaking open a feather pillow on a very windy day and then trying to collect every single little feather. It is nearly impossible.
5.        Backbiter
a.       (Proverbs 25:23) “The north wind driveth away rain: so doth an angry countenance a backbiting tongue.”
1)         We said earlier that the backbiter is the same as a slanderer. The word itself is quite explanatory – to bite someone in the back when they are not looking.
2)         None of us wants to get bit when we turn around. Therefore, we must be careful not to bite others when they turn around.
b.       (Matthew 7:12) “Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets.”
1)         We have all heard the paraphrase of this verse. “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”
2)         This is a good verse to end with this evening. Before we say something about another person, we should always ask our self if we would want the same thing said about us. If not, we should not say it.
Conclusion: Our sinful nature delights in sharing evil news about others that makes them look bad and makes us look better than them. I do not think that any of us can say that we have never been guilty of talebearing, whispering, gossip, slander or backbiting. However, these are sins that we must diligently ask the Lord to help us avoid.

If you have been guilty of one of these sins, you know what God says you must do. (Proverbs 28:13) “He that covereth his sins shall not prosper: but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy.”

With God’s help, let’s not be Whispering Gossips!

Song: Cleanse Me – 166