Westminster Theological Seminary1997-08-19 - Gossip

If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault between you and him alone, if he sins again, take with you one or two more, and if he attends not to your warnings, tell it to the church. Matt. 18:15-17 (a loose paraphrase)

He that observeth not this Rule, little hope is there that ever God will give him grace to make use of His (God's) warnings, who gives no warning to his brother." Joseph Mede

GOSSIP Really an ugly word. If some of us were talked about, by others, as we talk about others, we would have a healthy disgust and offence. Ah! That is the point, we all engage in it and it is a sin. In the passage above from Matthew there are at least two attempts made to deal with a matter before "people" find out about so and so.

Now good old Joseph Mede (quoted above) has not had a book in print since 1672. Few people alive today, at most, even know he existed. In reading his works, I was struck with how he commented on this text. He seems not to be very concerned with how "talking about Fred", alters Fred. Or how when we say this or that about Sally; Sally is discredited. Rather Mede is concerned with how our gossip effects our relationship with God! Mede says that there is little hope for those who do not obey God as God has spoken in His Word.

Now this struck me because it is not a warning that is specific to the text at hand but rather it is a universal principal. If we do not obey God, we should expect not to be blessed by Him! This is an easy concept/principle to grasp, but a difficult one to heed. For all of us, when tempted to gossip about another brother or sister let us STOP, remember and think, "How is this invoking God's blessing?" I think we will all conclude it is not doing that. Philip Doddridge says of Mede: "Mede has a good many original thoughts, not to be found any where else."

This is a true statement. "A lie has no leg, but a scandal has wings." Thomas Fuller

"When tempted to gossip, breathe through your nose." T. N. Tiemeyer

"Never report what may hurt another unless it be greater hurt to conceal it." William Penn

Soli Deo Gloria,