I cannot imagine any crime against another person which is more cowardly, despicable, and inexcusable than slander and gossip – backbiting. While such behavior is common and expected among the reprobate, there is no place for it in the kingdom of God.
Many who look down their noses with scorn upon fornicators, adulterers, and whoremongers, are guilty of this hideous offense. They think nothing of slandering another, attempting to murder his character, indeed, they seize every opportunity to do so. If Romans 1:28-32 means anything, it means that such people do not know God. Their character is the character of the reprobate. Backbiting men and women are proud, envious, little rebels, people who cannot be trusted in any area of life.
They are the pawns of Satan, used to disrupt the peace of God’s church and kingdom. They always pretend to have a just cause. They always pretend that they have been offended, slighted, overlooked, or abused by the one slandered. Backbiters are always whiners.
Why address this ugly trait? Because we are all, by nature, inclined to it. It is, like adultery, fornication, and deceit, the lust of our flesh. It is one of those little foxes Solomon speaks of, that would destroy the vine of God’s planting. Therefore, we are warned plainly and repeatedly to beware, lest we be guilty of engaging in the crime Carefully read Ephesians 4:17-5:2. Read it again. It is your responsibility and mine, to ever endeavor to “keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.”
For reasons known only to himself, the Lord has graciously blessed this assembly. He has given us, the most unworthy, unfit, and unlikely of people, with open doors of ministry both here and around the world. He has trusted to our hands the gospel of his grace and glory. No people were ever more highly honored and favored of God, and none more undeserving. If Satan can, he will destroy us. Do not take that warning lightly. I don’t!
When you are tempted to gossip, bridle your tongue. When you think ill of your brother or sister, for whom Christ died, repent, confess your sin to God, and do something kind, good, and generous for the one of whom you have thought ill. When you are inclined to expose a fault, expose a grace. When you think about pointing out a weakness of character, point out a strength. If you must talk about someone’s faults, failures, offenses, and weaknesses, talk about your own. In a word, “Brethren, love one another.” Pray for one another. Don’t ever speak ill of one another.
Someone once said, “Great minds talk about ideas. Average minds talk about things. Little minds talk about people.” Gossip is not an idle thing. It is a dagger of bitterness in the mouth and the poison of asps under the lips. It is halitosis of the brain. It is just as evil and just as great a weakness of character to lend a ear to the gossiping tongue as it is to use it. To set yourself in opposition to the gossip most advantageous to yourself. After all, as another put it, “Whoever gossips to you will gossip about you.”