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Gossiping and Backbiting


The Tongue And The Heart


What does the sixth commandment forbid?


“You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor.” Exodus 20:17.


Note – The evident object of this commandment is to guard the rights, interests, and reputation of our neighbor by guarding our conversation, and confining our words to that which is strictly true.


What instruction did John the Baptist give the soldiers who asked of him advice regarding the way of life?


“Then some soldiers asked him, “And what should we do?” He replied, “Don’t extort money and don’t accuse people falsely – be content with your pay.” Luke 3:14.


What is one good test of a perfect man?


“We all stumble in many ways. If anyone is never at fault in what he says, he is a perfect man, able to keep his whole body in check.” James 3:2. 


How did Christ teach the importance of guarding our speech?


“But I tell you that men will have to give account on the day of judgment for every careless word they have spoken. For by your words you will be acquitted, and by your words you will be condemned.” Matthew 12:36,37.


To whom are our words all known?


“Before a word is on my tongue you know it completely, O Lord.” Psalm 139:4.


Are what are one’s words an index?


“You brood of vipers, how can you who are evil say anything good? For out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks.” Matthew 12:34.


The Talebearer


What conduct in dealing with our fellowmen is condemned by the Scriptures?


“Do not go about spreading slander among your people. “Do not do anything that endangers your neighbor’s life. I am the Lord.” Leviticus 19:16.


To what are the words of a talebearer compared by Solomon?

“The words of gossip are like choice morsels; they go down to a man’s inmost parts.”

Proverbs 26:22. 


What is their effect?


“He who covers over an offense promotes love, but whoever repeats the matter separates close friends.” Proverbs 17:9.


What would follow if there were no talebearers?


“Without wood a fire goes out; without gossip a quarrel dies down.” Proverbs 26:20.


Among other things, what did Paul fear he would find in the Corinthian church?


“For I am afraid that when I come I may not find you as I want you to be, and you may not find me as you want me to be. I fear that there may be quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, factions, slander, gossip, arrogance and disorder.” 2 Corinthians 12:20.  


What result follows backbiting and like evils?


“The entire law is summed up in a single command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” If you keep biting and devouring each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other.” Galatians 5:14,15


To whom is the promise made of abiding in the tabernacle of the Lord and dwelling in His holy hill?


“He whose walk is blameless and who does what is righteous, who speaks the truth from his heart and has no slander on his tongue, who does his neighbor no wrong and casts no slur on his fellowman.” Psalm 15:2,3.  


What caution is given in regard to receiving an accusation against an elder?


“Do not entertain an accusation against an elder unless it is brought by two or three witnesses.” 1 Timothy 5:19. 


Taming The Tongue


Can man, unrenewed by grace, control his tongue?


“All kinds of animals, birds, reptiles, and creatures of the sea are being tamed and have been tamed by man, but no man can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison.” James 3:7,8.


As a guard against misuse of the power of speech, therefore, for what should we pray?

Set a watch over my mouth, O Lord; keep watch over the door of my lips.”

Psalm 141:3. 


What vow did the psalmist take against offenses of the tongue?


“I said, “I will watch my ways and keep my tongue from sin; I will put a muzzle on my mouth as long as the wicked are in my presence.” Psalm 39:1.


What is a sure cure for backbiting?


“You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” Matthew 22:39. “So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.” Matthew 7:12.  “To slander no one, to be peaceful and considerate, and to show true humility toward all men.” (See also James 4:11.)


What are those words like which are fitly spoken?


“A word aptly spoken is like apples of gold in settings of silver.” Proverbs 25:11.



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