Gossip, we all are guilty of it…on some level

We all encounter gossip of some kind on a daily basis, yet most followers of Christ have received very little training on how to deal with it. Matt Mitchell, author of Resisting Gossip, is actively trying to change that. He recently released the audiobook version for the 6-year print anniversary and is still passionately trying to change the way the church thinks about it and handles it.

He shared with us 3 insights into what gossip is to help us better combat it, and offers thoughts into why it might be so prevalent even in our Christian communities today.

“[It’s important to know] that there are at least three people involved in every gossip situation: (1) the speaker, (2) the listener, and (3) the subject of the gossip. Resisting Gossip helps each of those three to assess their hearts
and know how to do the right and righteous thing in their particular circumstances.

[With that in mind], my definition of the sin of gossip is bearing bad news behind someone is bearing bad news behind someone’s back out of a bad heart. All three parts of that definition are important.  There is (1) bad news involved (normally a shameful story, whether true or false), it is (2) shared clandestinely when the other person isn’t present, and it comes (3) out of a twisted motivation within the person (Matthew 12:34).  If you want to know if something is gossip or not, ask yourself why you are sharing or receiving it.

Second, gossip can be motivated by many different things–not just jealousy or revenge, as is commonly understood.  In the book, I identify at least five different heart-level motives that often result in gossip, and I’m sure there are more.  For example, a lot of gossip in our culture comes from an out-of-proportion desire to
escape boredom. We talk about people to amuse ourselves. But I’m learning that the foolish people of the world do not exist for my entertainment.  The good news is that God offers greater and more precious promises than these multiple temptations to gossip. There is always a way out in Christ!

Third, you can’t control [what other people are sharing about you], and that’s okay. There are two chapters in the book on this. If people are gossiping about us, it’s out of our power to control, so we need to learn to entrust our reputations into God’s sovereign hands. Jesus was gossiped about–the nastiest rumors! So we should expect to receive some of the same treatment and handle it in a Christ-like way (1 Peter 4:12-19).

With so many Christians believe that gossip is a far less serious sin than premarital sex, adultery, stealing, and viewing pornography, [I wrote the book] for ordinary Christians who want to resist gossip. Most other books about this problem spend a lot of words convincing the readers that gossip is bad, but Resisting Gossip believes that Christians already know this. Instead, it focuses on convincing readers that gossip can be successfully resisted because of the promises of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Readers will gain both new information and new confidence in battling this.

One reason is that we’re conditioned to think that way. The world actually celebrates gossip, and the church has turned a blind eye.  Since most of us haven’t been clearly taught about this problem, our thinking about its seriousness is bound to be fuzzy.

Another reason is that gossip is stealthy; it’s an under-the-radar sin that is more difficult to detect and therefore harder to condemn.

But the biggest reason is probably that gossip is something that hits too close to home. We all are guilty on some level, so we explain it away and re-label it, downgrading its importance relative to the “biggies” you mentioned.  The problem is that gossip makes the Bible’s list of “biggies” (see Romans 1:28-32), so we can’t ignore it and still be living God-pleasing lives.”

If you want to learn more, please check all the different resources that we have available on Resisting Gossip.

About Resisting Gossip

Resisting Gossip TogetherHey, have you heard about… Gossip.

It’s on Facebook, on the television, in the break room, and even in our churches. With gossip being so prevalent in our culture, it can be hard to resist listening to and sharing stories about other people’s business. But what does God say about gossip? And is it possible to follow his instructions? In Resisting Gossip Pastor Matt Mitchell not only outlines the scriptural warnings against gossip, but also demonstrates how the truth of the gospel can deliver believers from this temptation.

 

 

About Matt Mitchell 

Matt MitchellMatt Mitchell is a graduate from Moody Bible Institute and Trinity Evangelical Divinity School. In 2012, he received his Doctor of Ministry degree from Westminster Theological Seminary in biblical counseling under the leadership of the faculty of the Christian Counseling and Educational Foundation (CCEF). His doctoral project included writing his first book – Resisting Gossip.

He is active in his association of churches, the EFCA, serving the awesome Allegheny District as the chairman of the Constitutions and Credentials Board, and as the book review coordinator for EFCA Today. His greatest joy in serving Jesus is passionately communicating scriptural truth and seeing lives changed.

Matt Mitchell has been the pastor of Lanse Evangelical Free Church, a 120+year-old church parked along Interstate 80, since he was a rookie pastor in 1998. He is Heather’s hubby, and Daddy to Robin, Andrew, Peter, and Isaac. They live in the woods of Central Pennsylvania with a flock of free range chickens. They do the “homeschool adventure” thing, cut firewood for their outdoor furnace, love to read great books together, and go for long hikes as a family.

Follow Matt

      

Matt’s website

7 Pieces of Graduation Advice for the Senior in Your Life

With graduation approaching fast, seniors are looking for practical advice on what to do going forward. Adult life at first glance seems confusing, daunting and challenging, so how can we encourage graduates in their season of transition? Here are 7 pieces of advice from our staff; advice they’d wished they had received when they were graduating themselves.

 

Jim P. brought up the importance of your education path and where time with Jesus fits in:   

 

“When I graduated from high school, I didn’t know what I wanted to do with my life besides playing soccer. I ended up going to a Christian University on a soccer scholarship and decided to take extra Bible classes until I got a better understanding of what God wanted me to do. Once in college, I quickly realized that soccer would not carry me any farther, but those Bible classes were SO valuable as I grew in my understanding of the Scriptures. Looking back, I realize more and more how central our walk with Christ is to where God plans to use us vocationally. So my advice? Make your goal be to know God, and your daily goal be to spend time with Him.”

 

Rachel P. highlighted the importance of playing to your strengths and finding support for your weaknesses:

 

“I wish I was told that adults don’t have all the answers! I went to college feeling like there would be some magical point that I would reach where suddenly, life just made sense. But then I graduated, got married and started my first job, only to find out a lot of adults were just as lost as I was! I wish someone had encouraged me to focus on one area of my life that came easiest (my career for me!), and find support for all the other areas I was lacking in. Today, I have people that I go to for very specific issues/questions, like marriage, faith, friendships, physical well-being, etc. I am a healthier adult because of these people and am more confident in who I am, because I realized I never have to have it all together as long as I have my God and these friends He’s blessed me with.

 

Yaninna S. suggested taking a gap year:

 

“Something I wish people told me after high school is that everyone’s path looks different. I wish someone would have told me to take one year off and travel, explore, find out new things, learn more about myself and the Lord. After all, deciding what the rest of your life will look like right after high school is not easy.”

 

Marc S. talked about networking, building a professional identity & brand, and maintaining financial responsibility:

 

I wish I had known: (a) Developing honest, solid relationships with professors and instructors and employers greatly increases my marketability for employment. A degree and grades isn’t always enough to get the kind of opportunities I want.

  1. b) Even when employed by someone else, I am working for myself. Almost every job has something for me to learn to do well that I can add to my resume and take to the next opportunity within or outside of my current organization. I am not working only for a paycheck; I am also working to build my own brand.

  2. c) To pay myself first. I’ll always have bills and I’ll need food, clothes, shelter, and a way to get to work. But, I should be working for more than just to get to work the next day. I should save and invest in my own financial future. My current job isn’t promised, nor is the next, so I should always be paying myself for emergencies and any future goals. This may mean I need to be creative or versatile about how I acquire and/or manage my finances.”

 

Christina M. assures seniors that they don’t have to have it all figured out:

 

“What I wish I’d known when I graduated was that I didn’t have to go through this next phase of my life by myself. I thought I was “technically” becoming an adult and I’m now “supposed” to know what to go to school for and have all the steps lined up….and if that wasn’t enough pressure, then DO EVERYTHING right! I wish I’d known that I didn’t have to carry that burden. The Father wasn’t asking me to know everything and have all the steps lined up and do everything perfectly. He just asks me to come to him and make sure I’m making him a priority in my daily life. When you do that you open the door for the Holy Spirit to lead you and guide you and give you wisdom and direction. Had I known this, I think my life back then would have been a lot easier and less stressful. ‘Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him and he will make straight your paths.’ Proverbs 3:9-10”

 

Marcia H. remembers when devotionals and Bible reading helped serve her through her time in High School:


“When I graduated from high school I received a lot of devotionals from people as gifts.  I assumed that it was because they knew that I was a Christian. But when I began buying my own gifts for graduates, I realized that in giving me books that drew me into the Bible, they were giving me the best wisdom, the best support, the best life lessons, and the greatest love that they had to offer me.  My advice to graduates is read the Bible; it’s all in there!”

 

Vandetta H. keeps it simple:

“Matthew 6:33 – A keepsake for me! And it [is the] truth!”

 

Questions for your senior (or yourself!):

  1. Jim references the importance of Bible college and spending time with God. Have there been any Bible colleges that you or your graduate have considered applying at? Has your graduate been spending enough time with God?
  2. Rachel stresses the importance of having a core group of people to turn to. Is there a core group surrounding your graduate?
  3. Yaninna wished she could have taken a gap year. Could a gap year be the right path?
  4. Marc S. recontextualizes the workplace as an area to develop the right connections with the right people. Is your graduate working a dead-end job or an open opportunity?
  5. Christiana wishes she recognized that nobody has it figured out, and that she needed to rely on the Lord to handle the pressure for her. Is there anything you can confide in your senior about this month? Or any encouragement you can give them?
  6. Marcia realizes that devotionals and similar resources helped her deep-dive into God’s word. Are there any study guides or companion readers helping your senior visualize the God of the Bible?
  7. Vandetta H. gave us a powerful verse that can be directly applied by graduating seniors. Is your senior prepared to take on the world?

 

Looking for more resources to help serve an upcoming graduate? Here are some titles we recommend for a graduation present!

Remembering Warren Wiersbe, May 16, 1929 – May 2, 2019

Today, we, along with many others around the world, mourn the loss of CLC’s friend and author, Warren Wiersbe. But we rejoice at the race he ran and take comfort in knowing that he has been released from his earthly duties after almost 90 years, and is now with his Savior and Friend in Glory! We are grateful for his friendship over the years and for his trust in allowing us to publish several of his books. Below is a personal note from Jim Pitman, who had the privilege of working with him.

“I first came to know of Warren while working in our CLC Bookstore in Philadelphia. I picked up some of his “Be” series commentaries and found them to be excellent and easy to understand. We recommended them to customers, and they became our best-selling commentary series.

Several years later, when I had transitioned into serving as publisher for CLC, our author and friend Michael Catt suggested I call Warren about publishing some of his books. “Do you think he’d publish with us?” I asked. I figured he must be tied tightly to book deals with others as he had published over a hundred books by that time. I don’t know if Warren used email or not, but it seemed the only way I could reach him was by phone, and I was surprised when he not only took my call but when he agreed to publish with us! We worked on 5 books with Warren including a beautiful coffee table book called Expert Lifemanship which was co-authored and illustrated by photographer Ken Jenkins.

From pastoring at the historic Moody Memorial Church, to teaching at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, to teaching on the Back to the Bible Radio Ministry, Wiersbe’s life was well-spent for Christ. We are grateful for him.” 

A well-known international Bible conference teacher with a heart for mission, Dr. Warren Wiersbe was a former pastor of Moody Church in Chicago. He was associated with Back to the Bible for ten years as a Bible teacher, and served for five of those years as general director. Dr. Wiersbe is the author of more than 150 books, including the best-selling “BE” commentary. He was known as a “pastors’ pastor,” and his speaking, writing and radio ministries brought new understandings of the truths of God’s Word to people around the world.