A Plea to T.H.I.N.K.
If you’ve ever been trained on using a fire extinguisher you’ll know the acronym PASS (point, aim, squeeze, sweep). It is very useful when presented with a physical fire. A recent speaker at the Chapel helpfully brought our attention to another acronym to deal with fires of a spiritual sort, the tongue and gossip (litt. A whisperer).
James 3 describes the tongue as being able to cause wildfires that may well bring untold damage to thousands.
Gossip is deadly and not something to be trivialised as so many tabloids do.
Scripture makes clear that gossip is a sin, it is worldly, its source is hell.
Whilst something that is universal, Scripture also speaks of how women are particularly susceptible to this sin (1 Ti 5:13).
At the very best it is sinful for a believer to commit (perhaps even their besetting sin) (2 Cor 12:20).
At the very least it is a sign of being unregenerate, flowing forth from the bitterness of the heart (Ro 1:29—what a sobering verse!).
This is why the remedy for gossip is peace with God through repentance and faith in Jesus Christ. Then we are promised the gift of the Holy Spirit who will bear good fruit in our lives. Fruit opposed to gossip such as peace and kindness. Nevertheless, the following acronym may be a practical gossip extinguisher to help fight this dangerous demon.
True: Is what I want to say true? Since God is truth and commands us not to lie (Ex 20:16, the 9th commandment), if we love the truth we will be a people of truth. We will value the accuracy of a statement, shunning those that lack warrant and clinging to those that are trustworthy.
Helpful: “Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.” (Eph 4:29) If it won’t help the person or situation before us, why say it?
Inspiring: Are we a Barnabas, that is an encourager? (Acts 4:36). Is what we want to say spiteful? Does it have the intent or possibility of bringing down or building up? Let’s encourage one another! (1 Thes 5:11).
Necessary: At the Resurrection the women had an urgent, important and godly message to tell the Disciples—HE IS RISEN. They were compelled to share this good news. Would the world stop spinning if you didn’t share what you want to share? Is it necessary or even relevant?
Kind: Finally, remember Paul’s description of what the renewed Spirit filled life in Christ looks like (Eph 4:32-be kind…).
Together, let’s stamp out gossip by T.H.I.N.K.ing. Take no part in it. Don’t fan the flames of those who do; in fact, actively dissuade them and encourage them to T.H.I.N.K. for themselves.
The Lord’s Sweetest Blessings,