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KJV and NKJV Scripture

– You shall not go up and down as a talebearer among the people.  The words of a talebearer are as wounds and go down into the innermost parts of the belly. – Leviticus 19:16 and Proverbs 18:8

– Gossip is the devil’s radio. – George Harrison

“Loose lips sink ships” is a decades-old American idiom that attained wide-spread popularity during WWII.  Originally created by the War Ad Council, it appeared on posters back then put out by the U.S Office of War.  It means beware of unguarded talk, as careless conversations may be of use to any enemy.

Loose lips breed gossipers and busybodies saying words they should not (2 Thessalonians 3:111 Timothy 5:13) – launching seemingly harmless talk such as “Guess what I heard about so-and so?”  We avoid trouble if we keep our mouth (Proverbs 21:23). Gossip means this hasn’t been learned (Psalm 141:3).

Gossip is ungodliness and being disobedient.  It is not having the mind of Christ (1 Corinthians 2:16).  Jesus didn’t go around spreading rumors, revealing personal secrets (John 2:24-25), or engaging in any chit-chat. Gossip is lots of idle talk.  We will all give an account of every idle word we ever say (Matthew 12:36).

So, what exactly is gossip?  It comes to us from the Old English word “godsibb.”  Up until the mid 1500’s, it meant a familiar acquaintance.  As time passed, its sense was extended to one who “engaged in familiar talk.”  However, by the mid 1800’s, gossip had come to mean trifling talk and spreading groundless rumor.

A gossip is sometimes referred to in Scripture as a talebearer or a busybody.  A Christian busybody is not very disciplined – but one who walks disorderly.  It is one who doesn’t work, for they are more focused on the personal affairs of others, in hopes to find some new thing to gossip about (2 Thessalonians 3:11).

Gossip is unsubstantiated hearsay often revealing juicy secrets one has about another (Proverbs 11:13). It has a way of coming back full circle to the person being gossiped about.  It returns loud and clear to their ears.  Even if whispered to begin with, gossip separates close friends in the end (Proverbs 16:28).

Gossip is frequently spread by a person under the guise of them being knowledgeable about something or someone.  This is how gossip gains a foothold and is able to spread.  However, it is not the same as just exchanging information.  The difference between the two centers on intent and why a person is talking.

Information is helpful, gossip is hurtful.  Gossipers have a secret goal to build themselves up by making others look bad, exalting themselves in the process (Luke 14:11).  They speak of the faults, failings, or shortcomings of other people – revealing potentially embarrassing or shameful details about them.

We are all prone to gossip.  It’s why we have to be very careful as Christians as to what we are filling our souls with, for our hearts will always speak out of their abundance (Luke 6:45).  Still, some are more apt to gossip than others depending on how they were brought up – or where they are now in their life.

Those raised in houses full of strife and busy lives hear more in the way of steady talk than those raised in quiet and reserved atmospheres (Proverbs 17:1). People who grow up in the former might become gossipers early on.  Those brought up in the latter usually let their words be few (Ecclesiastes 5:2).

Others gossip out of boredom.  They always need to see or hear some new thing or person to spike their interest and talk (Acts 17:21).  In several studies, boredom was the #1 reason why young people say they spread rumors.  When everyone is happy and getting along, it’s dull.  Gossip can shake things up.

A third group very susceptible to gossip are widowed women and men who can find too much time on their hands.  Once accustomed to children and spouses around the house, they now have empty hours to fill. Without godly thought as how to spend them, idle walking and talking easily begins (1 Timothy 5:13).

Whisperings is another word for gossip.  Christians engaging in either are in eternal danger.  It is a sign of turning aside after Satan and departing the living God (1 Timothy 5:15, Hebrews 3:12).  God can turn one over to whispering when the devil is served and worshipped more than He is (Romans 1:25,28-29).

Gossip generates slanderous communications and comments.  Slander is evil in every way and corrupts any good manners a person may have (1 Corinthians 15:33).  Being a gossip or slanderer requires one to become a busybody – or have another to be one for them – to provide the proper “dirt” on somebody.

A busybody meddles in the affairs of others.  They snoop and spy, being the investigator for the gossips and rumormongers.  Just like some widowers, people like this are not redeeming their time very wisely (Ephesians 5:15-17).  Being a busybody is just as worthy of death as being a murderer (1 Peter 4:15).

Whatever name we want to call gossip, all of them create a lot of contention in life.  However, just as any fire goes out without wood, so does strife cease when the talebearing stops (Proverbs 26:20).  All gossip is sin.  If we regard it in our heart we will have a hard time getting prayers answered (Psalm 66:18).

Loose lips can sink just as many spiritual ships (e.g. fellowship, discipleship, worship) as they do physical ones.  Careless and uncommitted walks with the Lord lead to careless talk and communications.  Unguarded talk such as gossip gives ample ammunition to our adversary, Satan – so he can devour us (1 Peter 5:8).

This is why it is eternally dangerous for Christians to keep on minding earthly matters (Philippians 3:19), and staying entangled in affairs of this life (2 Timothy 2:4).  It means we will keep listening to Satan’s lies more than God’s truths.  Our walk and talk will follow whoever we are heeding and believing more.

Our words will become our earthly and eternal burden (Jeremiah 23:36).  In the end, we will be justified or condemned by all the things we said in this life – or spread like gossip (Matthew 12:37).  Gossip grieves the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 4:30).  It leaves one still stuck on destruction’s broad path (Matthew 7:13).

 

 

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(KJV and NKJV Scripture)

– But the tongue no man can tame … it is an unruly evil, full of poison. – James 3:8

– Therefore, if we seem to be religious, and we cannot bridle our tongues, we deceive our own heart – and our religion is in vain. – James 1:26

Just by putting the smallest of bits in the mouths of big horses, man has been able to get such creatures to obey him.  Mighty ships driven on the oceans by the fiercest of winds, can still be kept on course and controlled with the smallest of helms.  Even so, the talk from our tiny tongues can chart the course of our days.  They can bring forth obedience or disobedience – blessings or curses (James 3:3-5,10).

However, no man can tame them.  They are unruly. We can speak right words or wrong ones.  We can emotionally or spiritually poison another person just by the talk from our tongues.  We can corrupt any good manners we may have established, simply by the words we speak ( 1 Corinthians 15:33).  If we love life and want to see good days – we are to refrain from speaking evil and guile (1 Peter 3:10).

Death and life are in the power of our tongues (Proverbs 18:21).  One slip of them can shipwreck the faith of even the closet brother or sister (1 Timothy 1:19).  Another slip can set off sparks and kindle a fire like hell (James 3:6).  Burning down spiritual buildings, consuming belief, and leaving Christian lives smoldering in the ashes.  We are not like the phoenix.  We cannot always rise from such ruin.

We are to ask God to set a watch before our mouths, and to keep the door of our lips (Psalm 141:3).  We can pray, preach, go to church, do charitable work – and appear to be very religious in the eyes of many others.  However, once a single wrong word escapes our mouth – it is on the lam.  It is not like a fleeing convict trying to make a breakaway – whom we can just go capture again and bring back to prison.

God warns us repeatedly about the power of our words to others … in His Word to us.  A wholesome tongue is a tree of life, but a perverse one can break spirits (Proverbs 15:4).  We can increase the joy or sorrow of another.  We can wound their heart or mar their mind with thoughtless talk.  Just one careless word can reopen an emotional scar from years ago, or aggravate an inner wound from yesterday.

Be warned – we will all give an account of every idle word we speak on earth to God.  By our talk and communications below heaven – will be justified or condemned by our Father above (Matthew 12:36-37). However, only God can teach us to tame our tongues (lead verse).  This comes from being born again of the Spirit (John 3:5) – when Christ comes to dwell in our hearts by faith (Ephesians 3:16-17),

So we are taught the truth with no lie – and learn to put off lying tongues (Jeremiah 9:5, 1 John 2:27).  So we learn to speak and act more and more like Jesus each day (Ephesians 4:20-32).  So we practice the gospel we preach (Romans 2:19-23, 1 Corinthians 9:14).  So we don’t just weigh in on whatever is going on in Christianity – but so our words start having weight – in showing the lost the way to the Cross.

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(KJV and NKJV Scripture)

– Also, take no heed unto all the words that are spoken, lest you hear your servant curse you.  For oftentimes also, your own heart knows that you yourself, likewise has cursed others. – Ecclesiastes 7:21-22

– For every man’s word shall be his burden. – Jeremiah 23:36

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if everyone spoke exactly all the right words we’d like to hear – everywhere we went; every day?  Nothing but warm, well-wishes coming forth from truthful tongues?  When has that ever happened?  If we keep letting words we think are said the wrong way, in the wrong tone, and at the wrong times to ruin our days – we’re probably not going to have many of them.

From the time we get up, all it can take is wrong talk to us at some point after that, to wreck any good mood we may have had earlier on.  We can leave home with a super mood in the morning – then come back with a sour one that night – all because of words.  We may have been able to brush them off a bit before God with some decorum during our day out in public … until we got home (2 Kings 19:27).

Someone cursed at us.  Another said something upsetting.  One person uttered words most would perceive as harmless – but it was the “tone” they used with us.  What was it they “really” meant? However, we may never know how the words we’ve said to others have been likewise.  If we examine our hearts in this regard, we should see we’ve been on both ends of give and take at times (lead passage).

It is true that blessing and cursing should not come out of the same mouth (James 3:10).  However, the tongue is an unruly evil – full of poison – which only the truth of Christ can tame (James 3:8).  This truth is inside us by faith as Christians through the power of the Holy Ghost.  So we’re rooted and grounded in His love (Ephesians 3:16-17).  So we learn Christ in time (Ephesians 4:20-32).

So we learn not to speak reckless, wrong, or grievous words.  One corrupt communication from a Christian can damage the testimony of many (1 Corinthians 15:33, Ephesians 4:29).  We have had our conversation in the world before (2 Corinthians 1:12).  It is now to be as it becomes the gospel of Christ (Philippians 1:27).  So we talk and walk worthy of God (Job 13:7, 1 Thessalonians 2:12).

Unbelievers do not have the power of the Spirit to set a guard over their lips (Psalm 141:3).  They are still going to communicate from the abundance of their hearts – which is the world.  Our tongues should be talking out of the abundance of ours – which is the Word (Luke 6:45).  No matter what others may say to us, we know how to answer them with graceful words, seasoned with salt (Colossians 4:6).

God once put a man named Shimei – cursing up a storm – in the path of David and his men (2 Samuel 16:5-6).  How did David react (2 Samuel 16:11-12)? Our Father might just decide to do something similar with us.  Bidding unbelievers to speak bothersome words – at times we may least want to hear them. For Him to see how those of us proclaiming to be Christians respond – with blessing or curse.

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(KJV and NKJV Scripture)

– Out of the same mouth proceeds blessing and cursing.  My brothers, these things ought not to be. – James 3:10

– Let them curse – but You bless.  When they arise, let them be ashamed, but let Your servant rejoice. – Psalm 109:28

Shimei came tearing out of his house, hurling both curses and stones at David and his men.  One of them named Abishai said, “Why should this dead dog curse my lord, the king?  Let me go over – I pray of you – and take off his head (2 Samuel 16:5-6,9).” However, David knew better than to react so harshly and hastily.  He knew Shimei’s speech and behavior had been bid from above (2 Samuel 16:11).

Perhaps as a test from God, to see if David or his men would curse Shimei back.  Getting into a war of words – or weapons (2 Timothy 2:16).  David was a man after God’s own heart (Acts 13:22).  People back then might have had a hard time believing this if David was getting himself into shouting or shooting matches with everyone who did not like him – or what he was doing.  Shimei certainly didn’t.

Shimei was from the house of Saul, the previous king.  Shimei cursed David, calling him a bloody man of mischief.  It’s why Shimei thought David had lost his kingdom (2 Samuel 16:8).  But – David thought God might requite him some good for not cursing back (2 Samuel 16:12).  So, he and his men just wisely walked away – with Shimei still cursing, throwing stones, and casting dust (2 Samuel 16:13).

Can a fountain send forth – in the same place – sweet water and bitter?  Can a fig tree bear olive berries?  So can no fountain yield both salt water and fresh (James 3:11-12).  Likewise, how convincing can the testimony of any Christian claiming to be following Jesus, sound to any lost or unbelieving person – if blessing and cursing words should be coming forth from the same set of lips?

If we have heard Jesus, and have been taught by God’s truth now dwelling in our hearts by faith (Ephesians 3:16-17) – then we are to put off the conversation of our old man (Ephesians 4:21-22). We are not to be deceived, for evil communications corrupt good manners (1 Corinthians 15:33).  We are not to let such talk come forth from our mouths (Ephesians 4:29).

Oh, but the tongue – no man can tame.  It is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison (James 3:8). Mankind has tamed the biggest of beasts, but our tiny tongues can still kindle a wildfire like hell.  One cursing comment from the mouth of a Christian can do that – damaging any prior testimony (James 3:6-7).  How can we possibly curb cursing words from blurting out – and replace them with blessing ones?

Our every word will be our burden (Jeremiah 23:36). We will be justified or condemned by them (Matthew 12:37).  However, Jesus Christ said that out of the abundance of our hearts, our mouths will speak (Matthew 12:34).  What we fill our hearts with, has to eventually emerge from our lips.  These hearts are like vessels which can only hold so much, before something spills out in speech (Matthew 9:17).

Following or favoring any part of the world has to be partly reflected by our words.  They can appear quite Christian-like for quite a few days – full of seeming kindness, love, and compassion.  Then some care, complaint, want, or worry of the world walks in – and our heart speaks accordingly (Psalm 23:1, Mark 4:19, 1 Peter 5:7).  Making it very hard at times for others to believe anything we’ve said before.

God sets a blessing, and a curse before us each day (Deuteronomy 11:26).  However, back and forth our words can go – between the Word and the world. Blessing people one day, cursing others the next – both from the same mouth (lead verse).  The lost can’t hear without a preacher (Romans 10:14).  If they hear cursing words coming from Christians – why would they want to come closer to the Cross?

We are to let our conversation be as it becomes the gospel of Jesus Christ (Philippians 1:27).  Our communication is about things above – not below (Philippians 3:20).  Always exercising a good conscience, so our talk is void of offense towards God, and towards men (Acts 24:16).  So those who speak evil of us, may be ashamed for falsely accusing our good conversation in Christ (1 Peter 3:16).

Do we think God is not going to send us shouting and cursing people who don’t like us as Christians, similar to how He did by putting Shimei in David’s path?  To see how we respond?  Perhaps people who have been hurt by a church, or a previous cursing word spoken by us.  Those who can’t wait to catch us in our words – maybe hoping for some slander to slip out – like some did with Christ (Mark 12:13).

We can offer them the same hope of salvation as we have (Romans 8:24-25).  Having sanctified God’s truth in our hearts, so we speak such to others with meekness and fear (1 Peter 3:15).  No matter what they are saying or doing in return.  Or, we can keep the lost very cautious and uncertain about the Cross – by speaking hurtful or cursing words, to them or others.  And, nobody gets blessed that way.

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(KJV and NKJV Scripture)

– Even so, the tongue is a little member – and boasts great things.  Behold, how great a matter a little fire kindles. – James 3:5

– And every man that strives for the mastery is temperate in all things.  Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown – but we an incorruptible one. – 1 Corinthians 9:25

Just as the tiny rudder of a great big ship can be used to control its movements, steering its direction along certain courses (James 3:4) – so can our tongues steer the path of these days God has given each of us.  Depending on what we say – or don’t. The commentary which comes out of our mouths can steer conversations into contention, confusion, or contentment.  The direction of our day follows.

Death and life are in the power of our tongues – and those who love it will eat the fruit thereof (Proverbs 18:21).  Words from our mouths can be hurtful and wounding – helpful and healing (Proverbs 12:18). Our tongues can touch off wildfires – the flames of which can be tough to tame (James 3:6).  Wars of words often ensue.  We’re warned not to do this as believers (2 Timothy 2:16).

What comes into us from the outside can’t defile us. But just like our bodies, our hearts and minds are vessels.  They can only hold so much in before something spills out.  What then flows forth from our lips can quickly defile us.  Wrong words from our tongues seal the deal of defiling our whole bodies (Matthew 15:11,18-20).  The damage is done once words are out (James 3:6).

It’s hard to hold our tongue back sometimes – but it’s much harder to take our words back once spoken. Even when we say we’re sorry – sorrow has been sown.  We could have reopened a wound in another person’s heart – scarred by a previous hurtful word spoken years ago by someone else.  It takes asking God to set a watch before our mouths at times – to keep the door of our lips closed (Psalm 141:3).

This is where temperance comes in as Christians. Just as a ship’s captain gently steers the course of any vessel with a rudder, so does a shepherd gently steer the course of any flock with a staff.  We have been born again of the Spirit as Christians (John 3:5).  We were once astray – but have now been returned to the Shepherd and Bishop of our souls (1 Peter 2:25).  All control now belongs to Christ.

Jesus now dwells in our hearts by faith through the power of the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 3:16-17).  So we start producing the spiritual fruit God requires – to show the results of our mutual abidance in each other (John 15:1-5).  One such desired fruit is temperance (Galatians 5:22-23).  Temperance is the practice of always controlling our actions and feelings – regardless of situation or circumstance.

It’s moderation and self-restraint in behavior and expressions.  So we don’t always act or speak on assumptions; jumping to conclusions (Joshua 22:1-34).  So we don’t always give people a piece of our mind with our mouth.  We’ve been given the mind of Christ (1 Corinthians 2:16).  So ours are no longer conformed to the world – but transformed to be like Christ’s (Romans 12:2).  To give us peace of mind.

Still, we are flesh.  Even with the Holy Spirit in us – the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh.  They are contrary – one to the other (Galatians 5:17) – so we don’t always do or say the things we would (Romans 7:19-20).  In order to learn mastery – to be temperate in all things (second lead verse), we have to be taught so by the Master.  It’s essential to taming our tongues.

Everything we speak, starts as a thought.  These thoughts travel from our brains to our tongues.  For example, emotions often emerge from our mouths in word – when we’ve thought about things like love or hate long enough.  Once we start talking, people may want to stay with us – or walk away forever, depending on our words.  Once a person leaves because of them – it’s hard to get them back

As our minds are transformed daily by God’s truth, we should begin talking much more about the Word (Philippians 3:20) – and much less about the world. However, even speaking the truth requires some temperance.  Jesus didn’t always talk and teach. Christ also spent time praying and reflecting. When the Son of man did speak, it was always relevant to the situation.

The words which leave our lips about the Lord can go a long way to drawing the lost closer to the Cross – or driving them away (Romans 10:14, Ephesians 5:6).  Yes, whatever we say requires a tongue of temperance – whether it’s truth or not.  Remember, God always knows our words before we say them (Psalm 139:4) – and we will be judged for every idle word we ever spoke (Matthew 12:36).

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(KJV and NKJV Scripture)

– Only let your conversation be as it becomes the gospel of Christ. – Philippians 1:27

The word “become” means “beginning to be”.  It’s the start of steadily growing into something different from what anyone is at a particular point in time.  In earthly marriages, a man and a woman “become” one flesh (Mark 10:8).  “Become” also means looking good or fitting well on someone – such as saying to a person, “That suit becomes you.”

If we are true believers, we’ve been born again of the Holy Spirit (John 3:3-5).  Our conversation from that point on should slowly and steadily become more and more like Christ – because Christ has come to dwell in our hearts by faith through the power of the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 3:16-17).  It’s not an instant conversion – but a continual process.

This is done through the daily regeneration of our hearts, minds, and inner man by the Holy Spirit (Romans 12:2, 2 Corinthians 4:16, Titus 3:5).  It doesn’t stop until we die.  So we eventually get to a point where people who falsely accuse our good conversation in Jesus – are ashamed of themselves for doing so (1 Peter 3:16).

Our conversation is in heaven (Philippians 3:20).  We are not to hinder the path of those still being led to the Cross by God (John 6:44) – but to help them. We do that when Christ’s kindness, calmness, and compassion is reflected in all our talk and actions. When our love is fervent and unfeigned – from obeying the Spirit of truth in us (1 Peter 1:21).

If Jesus is not our constant conversation – someone or something else will be.  We were given Christ’s mind from God (1 Corinthians 2:16) when we received the Holy Ghost.  Won’t it appear we may still be minding the world, or minding any other wise and great person’s words first (Job 32:9, Ephesians 5:6); before Christ’s – by our conversation and actions?

Jesus said, “Why do you call me Lord, and not do the things I say (Luke 6:46)?”  Our daily conversation and actions reflect the true Master of our life (Luke 16:13).  How can we enter God’s eternal kingdom, if we don’t learn how to walk, talk, and act like Jesus – and follow peace and holiness with all men (1 Peter 2:21, Ephesians 4:29, Hebrews 12:14)?

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(Scripture from the NKJV and KJV)

– And they send unto him certain of the Pharisees – and of the Herodians to catch him in his words. – Mark 12:13

Jesus certainly had his critics and doubters while he lived upon this earth. Some certain Pharisees and Herodians were hoping they would catch Christ in his words – that he would slip up and contradict something he had said – so they could at least justify to themselves he wasn’t who he claimed to be. Likewise, Christians today certainly have their critics and doubters. Some certain unbelievers are most likely hoping we’ll slip up and contradict something we say – so they can at least justify to themselves why they continue to live as they do. They’re not sure we even know who we are – or what we’re talking about – so why would they ever want to join in?

We are to study to show ourselves approved unto God – workmen who need not be ashamed – rightly dividing the Word of truth when we present it (2 Timothy 2:15). So we understand what we are saying and affirming before we speak or write words to others. So we don’t come across to the unbelieving as just a bunch of irritating and jangling noise-makers – but not much of anything else (1 Timothy 1:6-7). Confusion and contradiction don’t go far in reaching and presenting a consensus in any matter or subject – Christianity included. It usually just leads to a bunch of vain babbling – which only increases ungodliness among believers (2 Timothy 2:16).

It’s like the riot at the Ephesus theater. Apparently, something really important was going on inside. However, many didn’t really seem to understand what. Some cried out one thing – some another – but a large majority did not know why they had come together to begin with (Acts 19:29-32). Are we the same today as believers? Doesn’t a confused noise coming from Christians – of which God is not the author of – only serve to send a message to the lost that a large part of us don’t even seem to know why we’ve come together to begin with (Isaiah 9:5, 1 Corinthians 14:33)? When we appear this way to the unbelieving – won’t many most likely just be chomping at the bit to catch us in our words?

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