"Don't Gossip! Don't Slander!" is often misunderstood or intentionally used as a manipulative technique to guilt people into silence (in the church) to cover up abuse, molestation, corruption, lying etc by church leaders who are held to a high standard in Scripture.
We covered “Judging”…and Joe Fisher has made it crystal clear we should take a hard look at “Gossip” and “Slander”.
What do those terms really mean?
Does it mean people are to keep silent about abuse, corruption, molestation, adultery, financial issues and lying by Pastors and Church Leaders?
Let’s take a look at the meaning of the words, since we are all entitled to our opinions, but we aren’t entitled to the Universally Accepted definitions of the Words we use.
3 John 1:10 So if I come, I will call attention to what he is doing, gossiping maliciously about us. Not satisfied with that, he refuses to welcome the brothers. He also stops those who want to do so and puts them out of the church.
The Greek word in the verse above for “Gossiping” is:
to talk nonsense
Original Word: φλυαρέω
Part of Speech: Verb
Phonetic Spelling: (floo-ar-eh'-o)
Short Definition: I gossip against
Definition: I gossip against, talk idly, make empty charges against, talk nonsense.
Cognate: phlyaréō (from phlýaros, "to bubble up, boil over") – overflowing with speech "that is fluent but empty".
It is used only in 3 Jn 10. (phlyaros).
OK, so the Scripture defines “Gossip” above as: “make EMPTY charges against”. OK, don’t make empty charges. Make sure that accusations, rebukes, etc of a Pastor/Elder and Leadership who are in sin are not “Empty Charges”. Make sure it’s the truth as you know it.
1 Timothy 5:13 Besides, they get into the habit of being idle and going about from house to house. And not only do they become idlers, but also gossips and busybodies, saying things they ought not to.
The Greek word used in the above verse is:
Original Word: φλύαρος, ον
Part of Speech: Adjective
Phonetic Spelling: (floo'-ar-os)
Short Definition: prating, talking foolishly
Definition: prating, talking foolishly, babbling.
phlýaros (an adjective, derived from phlyō, "to boil, bubble over") – properly, what bubbles over
(like a seething, boiling pot). (phlýaros) is only used in 1 Tim 5:13.
OK, so Scripture says “don’t talk foolishly”…reporting abuse, corruption, molestation, adultery etc. is not “talking foolishly” especially when it is commanded in Scripture to expose the deeds of darkness and to “tell it unto the church” and to “rebuke them publicly so others may take warning” etc etc.
Proverbs 11:13 A gossip betrays a confidence, but a trustworthy man keeps a secret.
The Hebrew word for “Gossip” in the above verse is really interpreted “officially” as “Talebearer”:
to go, come, walk
Original Word: הָלַך
Phonetic Spelling: (haw-lak')
Short Definition: go
a prim. root
to go, come, walk
The verse above means don’t “go” and “walk around” telling tales. If you have a legitimate secret in confidence of another person that is not a Pastor and is not a crime or something that will lead to hurting another person or themselves, like say someone emparts to a Pastor a “secret” in a Counseling session, the Pastor should not spread that “secret” unless it is a criminally actionable offense like child molestation or child abuse etc. A Pastor should not be a “Talebearer” about a lay-persons confessed sins. However, “Talebearing” cannot be exposing the deeds of Pastors in sin, as that would contradict Jesus and Paul the Apostle’s words and actions regarding Religious Leaders.
Proverbs 20:19 A gossip betrays a confidence; so avoid a man who talks too much.
The Hebrew word translated for “Gossip” above is:
Original Word: רָכִיל
Phonetic Spelling: (raw-keel')
Short Definition: slanderer
NASB Word Usage
slanderer (3), slanderous (1), talebearer (2).
We know what “Talebearer” means. So what does “Slander” mean?
slan·der (slndr) n.
1. Law Oral communication of false statements injurious to a person's reputation.
2. A false and malicious statement or report about someone.
OK, Scripture says don’t make a “false” statement or report about someone. If they didn’t commit child abuse, molestation, adultery, theft, lying etc, don’t say they did.
Leviticus 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.
We know what “Slander” means…don’t do it. Don’t spread false information about people. If a Pastor has done something that violates Scripture, try to handle it through Matthew 18, if he refuses to be truthful and repent, tell it unto the church. Rebuke him publicly. Don’t tell lies about him, tell the truth.
Psalm 15:3 and has no slander on his tongue, who does his neighbor no wrong and casts no slur on his fellow man.
Don’t “Slander”…tell the truth.
Ezekiel 22:9 In you are slanderous men bent on shedding blood; in you are those who eat at the mountain shrines and commit lewd acts.
Again, don’t “Slander”…tell the truth. Pastors, don’t disclose counseling information to keep people in fear and as a way to have the dirt on them to keep them from telling the truth about you. Don’t commit lewd acts, especially with minors, you’ll end up in jail and/or sued. Don’t cover it up, report it, report it, report it, right away.
OK, it appears the Scripture and the Universally Accepted definitions and meanings of words are contrary to Joe’s use of them.
Don’t Gossip and don’t Slander…tell the truth.
Pastors and Elders are held to Standards: 1 Timothy 3 and Titus 1.
If you have been hurt and witnessed a crime or corruption by a pastor or church, if you have been abused physically or sexually etc etc, report it to authorities and warn others (expose the deeds of darkness).
If you have been offended by a Pastor, attempt to follow the Matthew 18 process. If he doesn’t play ball and isn’t truthful, “tell it unto the church”…local Congregation and Church Universal (according to Scripture).
Pastors/Elders who remain in sin are to be “rebuked publicly so others may take warning” per 1 Timothy 5:19-22.