When a friend is in trouble, we may be tempted to lie in order to help him or her. God warns us against such schemes. If you have a friend who’s in trouble as a result of a bad decision, God says not to lie for your friend. He warns against making false reports. The law God laid down for his people in Exodus was designed to promote truth. Allowing your friend to learn from the mistake may be the best thing you can do. Check out God’s desire for truth in Exodus 23:1.
Not only is most gossip untrue, its purpose is usually to destroy someone’s reputation. Gossip is a serious offense. God told his people not to slander anyone. He knew what kind of damage the human tongue could cause. Instead of gossiping about others, find ways to encourage and build up others. Building up someone will also reveal something positive about your character. Discover what God says about gossip in Leviticus 19:16.
Being accused of a crime is a serious matter, to us as well as to God. He wants to protect the rights of the innocent and punish those who are convicted of committing crimes. In Deut. 19, he warns against bringing a false report about someone. God will not stand for people being wrongly accused. If you don’t know the truth, or if your motives aren’t pure, be honest with yourself and others. Don’t take the risk of lying. It’s never worth it.
Do you know someone who never has anything bad to say about anyone else? Someone who won’t join in on a gossipfest? This type of person pleases God. What we say is a strong reflection of what is in our heart. In Psalm 15, David wrote that the person who won’t slander others, who won’t do evil to a friend or disgrace a neighbor, is a person who can stay in God’s tent. In other words, God wants his people to control their words. By not slandering or gossiping about others, we demonstrate our sincere love for God. See what David has to say in Psalm 15:3.
Being the target of gossip, slander, and lies can make you feel like you’re being pierced by dozens of arrows. David knew that feeling. Rumors and stories about him that were untrue were being circulated. Those words were like sharp swords to David. Being at the receiving end of harsh words can give us an appreciation for the power of words. It can also teach us to keep our words from hurting others. Look at what David wrote about the power of the tongue in Psalm 57:4.
Gossip destroys friendships. Talking about others behind their backs, whether the stories are true or not, does more damage to friendships than anything else. That’s why God warned against gossip. Gossip drives a wedge between close friends, and it takes the forgiveness of Christ to heal those wounds. Refuse to participate in gossip. That decision will honor God and protect your friendships. Read Proverbs 16:28 and consider memorizing it. If you keep this warning in mind, you may avoid some problems in the future.
Most people would never club their neighbor over the head or shoot an arrow through their neighbor’s back. However, Proverbs 25:18 warns us that giving false testimony against a neighbor is no different from ramming a spear right through him or her. False testimony (deliberately lying about someone else) delivers a massive blow to your integrity. God wants his followers to be honest; in fact, he commands it! Be certain when you open your mouth that only truth will come out.
Gossip is like mixing matches and gasoline. It’s explosive, injuring everyone who comes in close contact. The apostle John had strong words for those who participated in gossip. A guy named Diotrephes was destroying God’s church by spreading rumors. Gossip can cause us to become calloused toward others. See what John planned on doing about this problem in 3 John 1:10.
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