I bet you're wondering how I knew
Bout your plans to make me blue
With some other guy you knew before
Between the two of us guys
You know I love you more
It took me by surprise, I must say
When I found out yesterday
Don't you know that
I heard it through the grapevine…
So sang the great Marvin Gaye. These are the perils of gossip: harsh words that are spoken about us rather than spoken to us. This is an ancient human problem, going back even to the days when the Bible was written…
11 Do not speak evil against one another, brothers and sisters. Whoever speaks evil against another or judges another, speaks evil against the law and judges the law; but if you judge the law, you are not a doer of the law but a judge.
12 There is one lawgiver and judge who is able to save and to destroy. So who, then, are you to judge your neighbor?
Gossip happens when we talk about someone when we should be talking to them. We’ve all done it, we’ve all been hurt by it, and even though we usually think it’s no big deal, it really is! James says it means we are not doers of the law, but instead positioning ourselves as judges.
But do we really want to be judges? Those who decide the fate of others? Of course not.
The good news is that there is one true lawgiver and judge, the Lord Jesus Christ. And he is far more merciful and kind and forgiving than we are.
Lord Jesus, forgive us when we speak evil against others. We confess that we have gossiped about our brothers and sisters. Remind us that we are called not to be judges but to be servants of you, the highest King. Let us use our words for good and not for evil, to bless and not to curse. We pray in your name, who is the Word made flesh. Amen.