Sunday, February 22, 2015

Bible Verses on Gossip: Parish Bulletin--2-22-15

Last weekend I proposed a challenge for all of us during Lent—to give up gossip.  This weekend I would like to show how this challenge comes straight from the Bible.  Consider the following verses:
·      Exodus 20:16 (the Eighth Commandment)—“You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.”
·      Psalm 34:13—“Keep your tongue from evil, and your lips from speaking deceit.”
·      Psalm 50:20—“You sit and speak against your brother; you slander your own mother’s son.  These things you have done and I have been silent; you thought that I was one like yourself.  But now I rebuke you, and lay the charge before you.”
·      Proverbs 21:23—“He who keeps his mouth and his tongue keeps himself out of trouble.”
·      Proverbs 26:20—“For lack of wood the fire goes out; and where there is no whisperer, quarreling ceases.”
·      1 Corinthians 12:20—“For I fear that perhaps I may come and find you not what I wish, and that you may find me not what you wish; that perhaps there may be quarreling, jealousy, anger, selfishness, slander, gossip, conceit, and disorder.”
·      Galatians 5:14-15—“For the whole law is fulfilled in one word, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’  But if you bite and devour one another take heed that you are not consumed by one another.”
·      Ephesians 4:29—“Let no evil talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for edifying, as fits the occasion, that it may impart grace to those who hear.”
·      James 3:6-11—“And the tongue is a fire.  The tongue is an unrighteous world among our members, staining the whole body, setting on fire the cycle of nature, and set on fire by hell.  For every kind of beast and bird, of reptile and sea creature, can be tamed and has been tamed by humankind, but no human being can tame the tongue — a restless evil, full of deadly poison.  With it we bless the Lord and Father, and with it we curse men, who are made in the likeness of God.  From the same mouth come blessing and cursing.  My brethren, this ought not to be so.”
When we strive to grow in the virtues, it is helpful to have Bible verses on hand for inspiration and in moments of temptation.  The above verses are a sampling from the Scriptures that deal with speech that you may find helpful to bring to prayer or even memorize.
I cite these not to point fingers or in a spirit of judgment.  As I said before, gossip is something I continue to work on in my own life because I have always been a chatterbox.  My only desire is to help us grow in holiness.  I know that your life, your family, our parish, our community and even our world will be better for us striving to avoid gossip!
Finally, if all this gossip-talk has been challenging, have great hope!  True change is slow change, and God is always ready to forgive us for when we mess up and give us grace to help us grow!
God Bless!

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