Our words can be extremely powerful, either for good (Eph. 4:29) or ill (James 3:6). One form of evil use of the tongue is gossip. The following illustration by an unknown author drives this point home:

Once upon a time, an old man spread rumors that his neighbor was a thief, As a result, the young man was arrested. Days later the young man was proven innocent. After been released he sued the old man for wrongly accusing him.

In court the old man told the Judge: “They were just comments, didn’t harm anyone.”

The judge, before passing sentence on the case, told the old man: “Write all the things you said about him in a piece of paper. Cut them up and on the way home, throw the pieces of paper out. Tomorrow, come back to hear the sentence.”

Next day, the judge told the old man: “Before receiving the sentence, you will have to go out and gather all the pieces of paper that you threw out yesterday.”

The old man said: “l can‘t do that! The wind spread them and I won’t know where to find them!”

The judge then replied: “The same way, simple comments may destroy the honor of a man to such an extent that one is not able to fix it. If you can’t speak well of someone, rather don’t say anything. Let’s all be masters of our mouths, so that we won’t be slaves of our words.”

Gossips are worse than thieves because they steal another person’s dignity, honor, reputation and credibility which are impossible to restore. So remember this: when your feet slip, you can always recover your balance; but when your tongue slips, you cannot recover your words.

Let us remember the damage gossip can do! “Where there is no wood, the fire goes out; And where there is no talebearer, strife ceases” (Proverbs 26:20).

Matt Clifton
McCrory church of Christ
McCrory, AR

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