Wisdom, the Heart, and the Power of the Tongue
Reb Bradley wrote this great article on the power of the tongue. In it, he identifies what gossip is, how to minimize the spread of slander and gossip proactively, and how to respond to signs of division.
I. The Problem of the tongue in churches:
A. Those who do not control their tongues have power to DISMANTLE churches
Prov 11:11 Through the blessing of the upright a city is exalted, but by the mouth of the wicked it is destroyed.
Jam 3:6 The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole person, sets the whole course of his life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell.
Prov 11:9 With his mouth the godless destroys his neighbor, but through knowledge the righteous escape.
Prov 12:18 Reckless words pierce like a sword, but the tongue of the wise brings healing. 19 Truthful lips endure forever, but a lying tongue lasts only a moment.
1. A LOOSE TONGUE alienates and divides friends and family
1 Cor 1:10 I appeal to you, brothers, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree with one another so that there may be no divisions among you and that you may be perfectly united in mind and thought.
2 Cor 12:20 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 [psithuristes], arrogance and disorder.
2. Soiling a leader’s reputation with SLANDER will destroy the trust he needs to lead
Lev 19:16 “‘Do not go about spreading slander among your people. “‘Do not do anything that endangers your neighbor’s life. I am the LORD.
3. GRUMBLING against leadership decisions is rooted in and fosters a lack of submission
Num 14:36 So the men Moses had sent to explore the land, who returned and made the whole community grumble against him by spreading a bad report about it–
Phil 2:14 Do everything without complaining or arguing, 15 so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe
B. Churches whose members TAKE CONTROL OF their tongue THRIVE
Prov 12:18 Reckless words pierce like a sword, but the tongue of the wise brings healing. Prov 15:4 The tongue that brings healing is a tree of life, but a deceitful tongue crushes the spirit.
Ephesians 4:29 Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.