Here is a step-by-step recipe I have seen work successfully over and over again throughout the course of my life. This Sunday I am preaching on the positive ways to avoid the sin of gossip through the inner work of the Holy Spirit and the enjoyment of its fruit. But I share this dangerous recipe today so that when you identify these poisonous ingredients in your life, you will know what you may be inadvertently stirring up.
1) Be a whisperer.
Proverbs 16:28: "A perverse man sows strife, And a whisperer separates the best of friends."
2) Allow your tongue and the tongues of your family members to run unbridled.
James 3:5-8: "Even so the tongue is a little member and boasts great things. See how great a forest a little fire kindles! And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity. The tongue is so set among our members that it defiles the whole body, and sets on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire by hell. For every kind of beast and bird, of reptile and creature of the sea, is tamed and has been tamed by mankind. But no man can tame the tongue. It is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison."
3) Hold others to a higher standard than yourself.
Proverbs 11:9: "The hypocrite with his mouth destroys his neighbor."
4) Assume the worst of others.
Psalm 41:7: "All who hate me whisper together about me; they imagine the worst for me."
5) Listen to rumors against others.
Proverbs 17:4: "An evildoer gives heed to false lips; A liar listens eagerly to a spiteful tongue."
6) Repeat every rumor you hear.
Proverbs 17:9: "He who covers a transgression seeks love, But he who repeats a matter separates friends."
7) Forget that you were forgiven much and demand that you are treated perfectly.
Matthew 18:27-28: "Then the master of that servant was moved with compassion, released him, and forgave him the debt.But that servant went out and found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred denarii; and he laid hands on him and took him by the throat, saying, 'Pay me what you owe!'"
Be warned though. Following this recipe always calls the judgment of God down on the heads of those who use it. And tragically I have seen some of the sweetest people’s lives destroyed by this poison being stirred up in their homes, and some of the happiest churches crippled and even destroyed by it.
Psalm 101:5: "Whoever slanders his neighbor secretly I will destroy. Whoever has a haughty look and an arrogant heart I will not endure."