Bishop Charles Agyinasare has counselled Christians against gossiping, admonishing: “If it’s not your business, shut up”.
In his Sunday, October 25, 2020 sermon titled ‘Foolish talking and jesting (1)’ at Perez Dome, Dzorwulu, the founder of Perez Chapel International said gossiping one of the five ways “we can burn our forest” or through which “our tongues get us into trouble”.
Apart from gossiping, Bishop Agyinasare named the other four as lying, slandering, getting involved in argumentative speech and jesting.
He said “foolish talking is the ninth commandment in the Decalogue” as captured in Exodus 20:16 (NKJV): “You shall not witness falsely against your neighbour”.
“Be careful what you say because this commandment warns of the wrongful use of language. Remember a Roman maid said to Peter: ‘Your speech betrays you’”, Bishop Agyinasare warned.
He taught the congregation that “salvation is evidenced by our speech”, referencing Romans 10:10, which says: ‘For with the heart, one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth, confession is made unto salvation’.
Also, he said: “Our words have the power of life and death” as Proverbs 18:21 says, adding: “By our words, we would be justified or condemned”, referencing Matthew 12:37, which says: ‘For, by your words, you will be justified, and by your words, you will be condemned’.
Additionally, he said: “Our tongue creates all the problems for us”, quoting James 3:3-5: ‘If we put bits into the mouths of horses that they may obey us, we guide their whole bodies. Look at the ships also; though they are so great and are driven by strong winds, they are guided by a very small rudder wherever the will of the pilot directs. So, the tongue is a little member and boasts of great things. How great a forest is set ablaze by a small fire!’
“Our tongue can be full of deadly poison”, he noted, pointing to James 3:8.
Bishop Agyinasare defined gossip as: ‘A person who habitually reveals personal or sensational facts about others, a tale-bearing. Saying things behind a person you don’t say before him’.
He quoted Proverbs 26:22 (CEV) as saying: ‘There is nothing so delicious as the taste of gossip! It melts in your mouth’.
“We love good gossips because we think it is titillating. It’s a matter of control, to know the secrets of other people’s lives that we shouldn’t”, Bishop Agyinasare noted but warned that it has dire consequences.
“Lies”, he said, “separate friends” (Proverbs 16:28) “and gets us in trouble” (Proverbs 18:8).
“We are not to befriend a gossip because he would spill our secrets” (Proverbs 20:19) “and the quarrels we are embroiled would stop”.
He buttressed his point by quoting Proverbs 26:20 (NIV), which says: “Without wood, a fire goes out; without gossip, a quarrel dies down.”
TEST FOR GOSSIP
In ancient Greece, Socrates was reputed to hold knowledge in high esteem. One day, an acquaintance met the great philosopher and said, “Do you know what I just heard about your friend?”
“Hold on a minute,” Socrates replied. “Before telling me anything I’d like you to pass a little test. It’s called the Triple Filter Test.”
“That’s right,” Socrates continued. “Before you talk to me about my friend, it might be a good idea to take a moment and filter what you’re going to say. That’s why it is called the triple filter test.
The first filter is the Truth. Have you made absolutely sure that what you are about to tell me is true?”
“No,” the man said, “Actually I just heard about it and …”
“All right,” said Socrates.
“So you don’t really know if it’s true or not. Now let’s try the second filter, the filter of Goodness. Is what you are about to tell me about my friend something good?”
“No, on the contrary…”
“So,” Socrates continued, “you want to tell me something bad about him, but you’re not certain it’s true. You may still pass the test though because there’s one filter left: the filter of Usefulness. Is what you want to tell me about my friend going to be useful to me?”
“No, not really …”
“Well,” concluded Socrates, “if what you want to tell me is neither true nor good nor even useful, why tell it to me at all?”
Imagine a world where we are all using this TEST.
Stop gossiping (Proverbs 17:9) and learn to shut up (Proverb 21:23 (Living)) “Keep your mouth closed and you’ll stay out of trouble.”