We have arrived at the third 'disease' of the mouth: gossip.
“Do not go about spreading slander among your people." (Leviticus 19:16 (NIV))
Going about spreading slander – idle, untrue, exaggerated, malicious talk – is gossip. The very title of Satan in the New Testament, the word rendered "devil," means "a slanderer" in Greek. That is its root meaning and the main description of Satan in the Bible. If you gossip or tell tales, you are actually doing the devil’s work for him. You are a representative of Satan. Not only must we be careful not to give out gossip, we have a responsibility not to receive gossip also.
“The words of a gossip are like choice morsels; they go down to a man’s inmost parts." (Proverbs 18:8 (NIV))
How true that is of human nature. When we hear something about someone that is bad or shows them in a bad light, something in the human heart rejoices. "The words of a gossip are like choice morsels." Be careful when one of those choice morsels of gossip is placed in front of you that you do not swallow it. They are poisoned. They taste sweet but they poison us. And, as we receive them into our hearts, our lives will become poisoned by those morsels of gossip.
“A gossip betrays a confidence; so avoid a man who talks too much." (Proverbs 20:19 (NIV))
See how closely these various 'diseases' are related. If you listen to gossip, you become "an accessory after the fact." If you receive somebody who has stolen something and accept those stolen goods from them, then in legal terms you become an accessory after the fact. So, if you entertain a gossip and listen to their words, you become an accessory to the gossip. This is what God says in Psalm 15:1-3:
“Who may dwell on Thy holy hill? He who walks with integrity, and works righteousness, and speaks truth in his heart. He does not slander with his tongue, nor does evil to his neighbour, nor takes up a reproach against his friend." (NAS)
There are various requirements for access to God’s presence, in order to "dwell on His holy hill." We must walk with integrity; we must work righteousness; we must speak the truth in our hearts.
Then three things we must not do are listed. We must not slander with our tongue; we must not do evil to our neighbour. Also, we must not take up a reproach, or receive a reproach, against our friends.
It is not enough that we do not slander; we must not receive the slanderer. We must not take up a reproach against someone whom we know. We must not eat those choice morsels of gossip because they are poison, and many relationships are poisoned by eating them.
Dear Lord, please forgive me for the times where I have listened to gossip. Please help me to choose to put aside the 'choice morsels' and to close my ears to slander. I also pray that You would help me to never spread or pass on false messages, including on social media! In Jesus' Name, Amen.