Beware of Lists

by Spencer Harmon
by Spencer Harmon


I love lists.  Making them.  Reading them.  Checking things off of them.

There is something that excites me when I read the title, “6 Ways to Read the Bible” or “10 Ways to Pursue Your Wife in the New Year” or “4 Ways Not to Waste Your Singleness” It awakens some faint hope that if I read this article, I might just find the silver bullet.  I might have that great epiphany that changes everything.  And I’m not the only one.  Take a quick look at your Twitter and Facebook feeds, and you will quickly see that one of your friends has probably shared a list.  We want to reach our goals, we want to improve, and we want to change.  And we want all of it quickly.

But for all the good that lists can give us, there is a subtle poison I have noticed in my thinking.  I have developed a “quick fix” mentality.  Best practice replaces conviction; behavior replaces motivation; doing replaces being.  But apples don’t grow on trees that don’t have roots, and our behavior won’t change unless our hearts do first.

The barometer of my life is not my resolves for this year, but my reasons for living.  Our thinking is warped when our goals and lists don’t have the deep roots of conviction nourishing them and giving them life.  Although Jesus calls Christians to specific actions and steps of obedience in this life, he first calls us to believe.  Before we act, we abide.  Roots before fruits.

Don’t settle for a quick fix.  By all means: make the list, and be filled with resolve.  But let your resolve be the overflow of a heart that is rooted and grounded in deep love for Christ and faith in his promises.  Because, as C.S. Lewis said,  “sometimes the longest way around is the shortest way home”


Christian Giants and the Church of Galatia

I went up because of a revelation and set before them (though privately before those who seemed influential) the gospel that I proclaim among the Gentiles, in order to make sure I was not running or had not run in vain. (Galatians 2:2)

The Christian culture we live in has superstars. You know who I am talking about. There are almost too many to count. These are the famous pastors, circuit conference speakers, the prolific authors, the big names with the big followings. If you and I are really honest, we have our personal crushes. We have a couple of these supernovas picked out and we like to gaze at them from time to time.


There is nothing new under the sun and that includes Christian superstars. The Apostle Paul mentions the original religious rockstars in the book of Galatians. In Galatians 2:2, he says the Apostles “seemed to be influential.” In 2:6, he repeats this phrase a second and third time. In fact, Paul calls them “Pillars” of the faith in 2:9. Back in the day, the Apostles were the real Christian celebrities. They were not only famous, they had authority endowed from God to speak to the church. Paul in Ephesians 2:2 says that the church was built of the foundation of the Apostles and prophets. These guys were famous, influential, titanic pillars for the kingdom of Christ. They walked with Jesus and learned directly from the Son of God. John Piper, Billy Graham and Matt Chandler have nothing on these guys.


How should we think about contemporary public power-house Christians? Is there an appropriate way to admire these Christian superstars without making them idols? We should think about Christians Celebrities in the same way Paul thought about Christian giants in the book of Galatians. We should not esteem them too highly or too lowly.


Don’t Esteem Them too Highly

Paul recognized that the original twelve Apostles were significant and important. Yet Paul did not let this cloud his clarity or his convictions. Paul held all the Apostles under the microscope of the gospel. In Galatians 1:8, Paul says “But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed.” Paul was so committed to the words of Christ, that nothing could deter him – not even angelic beings. If Peter, James or John had changed their minds ever so slightly about a biblical truth, their teaching would have been out of line. The words and work of Christ kept the Apostles in check. The Bible should dictate our convictions, not Christian celebrities. Paul grounds all his authority in the words of God. The words and work of Christ are immovable.


If a Christian celebrity deters from the Scripture, then he should not be followed. We are only to follow Christian celebrities as they follow Christ. We should imitate Christian supernovas only as they reflect the glory of God. We should gaze in wonder only as they submit their lives humbly the the authoritative word of God.


The sufficiency of Scripture should be our lens through which we view Christian figures. The Scriptures are the only certain rule of faith and obedience. Paul was not afraid to confront the “pillars” of the faith. In fact, he says in Galatians 2:11 that he opposed Peter to his face because he stood condemned. Out of a love for Peter and the truth, Paul held Peter accountable to the Scripture.


This is immensely important to us today because it shows that even the most iconic Christians are still sinners. We must be careful not to esteem the “pillars” so highly that we are blind to their cracks. If the foundational men of the New Testament had chips and cracks, we should never expect today’s celebrities to be infallible. Megachurch pastors sometimes need to be rebuked in love. Presidents of major evangelical institutions are capable of horrific sin. We do a disservice to the spiritual superstars of our day we when place them on a high pedestal. If we place unrealistic expectations upon Christian leaders, then we will get burned when our supernovas become falling stars.


We cannot follow any Christian leader blindly. We must examine all teachings in light of the Scripture and we must remember that all have fallen short of the glory of God. We should not believe something just because “so-and-so” believes it. Instead, we must tether everything to the Scripture and follow leaders as they follow Christ.


Don’t Esteem Them too Lowly

Galatians 2:1-12 is a fascinating passage to examine because Paul is very particular in how he views the Apostles. He is writing to defend his Apostolic authority against a group of Jews who taught that circumcision was essential for the Christian life. In one breath, Paul comments on the Apostles and says “what they were makes no difference to me; God shows no partiality.” In another breath, Paul says the Apostles “who seemed to be pillars… gave the right hand of fellowship to Barnabas and me.” Paul used the confirmation from the Peter, James and others to defend both his ministry and his gospel. Paul did not dismiss the teachings of the Apostles because they “seemed to be influential.” He was more than happy to receive their commendation in the gospel and use their affirmation it to endorse his ministry. What the Apostles said was not final, but it did matter. He did not esteem their significance too lowly.


When an influential Christian speaks, we should listen. If someone had a fruitful ministry for 30 years, we would be wise to give them our ears. If someone has been married for 40+ years, we ought to pay attention to what they say. We prove ourselves to be fools if we reject the counsel and teaching of someone just because they are famous. Fame does not equal sin. We should not be ashamed to sit at the feet of key leaders who have spent years in the Scriptures and follow them as they follow Christ. If someone is reflecting Christ in a stellar way, it is a good thing to imitate them. Supernovas are usually bright for a reason.


Fruit of the Spirit Never Fails

One final word of caution from the book of Galatians on the topic of Christian Celebrities. We should desire to produce fruit of the Spirit more than we desire to become influential. It can be very tempting to want to be like our Christian heroes in every way. We may deceive ourselves into thinking that a successful ministry means being simulcast into five buildings and flying across the country five times a month. Instead, we ought to make it our goal in life to be faithful fruit bearers.


I know of Christian supernovas who have soared high in the sky but exploded upon everyone along the way. There are leaders in evangelicalism who are one thing on camera and another thing at home. There are megachurch pastors who are unqualified for ministry according to 1 Timothy 3. There are countless Christian leaders who have failed millions, but bearing fruit of the Spirit has never failed anyone. Paul says the fruit of the Spirit is “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.” (Galatians 5:23)


Every star eventually burns out – even the Christian ones. Fame is fleeting, but the word of God endures forever. We need to be men and women who are bearing fruit of the Spirit that lasts into eternity. Spend your days drawing near to the God of the Bible and becoming a bountiful tree that bears fruit in secret and in every season.

This article was originally published in the September 2014 Issues of The Seminarian. You can view the article here

Don’t Drift Away

by Sean Perron
by Sean Perron

As I prepared to speak to a youth group about why the church mattered, my heart was bothered and broken by two recent blog posts from Donald Miller in which he openly forsakes the local church.

I pray that this short sermon spurs you on in the faith and challenges you to deepen the relationships you have in your local body of believers. Because of passages such as Ephesians 4:11-6, I am convinced that people are anchored in the faith through the local church. Let us keep each other from drifting away by always speaking the truth in love.

Sermon from [Re]born Youth Ministry – Why do we need the church? Ephesians 4:11-16 – audio.mp3

1) We need the church to be equipped for service
2) We need the church to attain unity of faith and knowledge of the Son of God
3) We need the church to grow up into maturity
4) We need the church to remain in truth
5) We need the church to experience love

Pornography Behind the Pulpit

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This is an excerpt from the article “Dear Young Seminarians” in the January Issue of the Seminarian Student Magazine of Toronto Baptist Seminary.

Dear Young Seminarians,

I have been around seminary and Bible college long enough to know that some of you are frequently engaged in pornography. My heart is broken by this reality and I wish it were not true. Pornography is a dark sin that can hide even under the shadow of steeples. The pulpit is not immune to the sin of pornography.

There are students who are going to graduate this year who know more about God than the majority of Christians and yet are farther away from Jesus than the average church member. If nothing changes, several of you will receive a diploma for Christian ministry but only proceed to preach a foreign gospel for the rest of your days. If this describes you, I plead with you not to receive the grace of God in vain. There truly is matchless power in Christ to change your life. I am thankful that you are reading this and want you to know that several steps must be taken.

You probably have fears that abound in this season. What if someone finds out? What will my fiancee think? What will my pastor do? How will this affect my marriage? What if I can never be free?

If you are serious about your relationship with the Lord and about your future ministry, then serious action must be taken. You do not want to turn over in bed next to your bride and search for porn on your iPhone. You do not want to stand up to preach just after gazing at naked women the night before. You do not want to shrug off this sin and then turn over in the flames of Hell. Hands must be cut off and eyes must be gouged out. Pornography is not a pet to stroke, but a snake to crush. Realizing the severity of this sin is life or death. Yet there is a greater reality we must realize.

Brothers, many men do not realize the power they have been granted to fight even the darkest desires. When Christ screamed in agony on the wooden tree, He did not scream in vain. The strength that surged through the veins of Jesus now surges through the Spirit in you. Christ has come to set you free and you can be free indeed. There is no porn pit too deep that the light of Christ cannot reach. Christ is risen from the dead and He gives immeasurable power to those who believe (Ephesians 1:19). Come into the light and believe there is power in the precious blood of the Lamb.

I am a seminary student looking at pornography, what should I do?

The first order of business is to bring in a wise counselor. I am not involved enough in your daily life to give hand-tailored advice nor able to hold you accountable. You will need someone who can speak directly into your life, assess the scenario, examine your fruit and help you grow in holiness. You need a referee on the field rather than a commentator from the stands.

But from my aerial viewpoint, here is what I have noticed. There are two kinds of people who struggle with pornography. Those who are are slaves to Jesus and those who are slaves to Satan. Those who have the Holy Spirit in them and those who do not. You must examine yourself and take inventory of your soul. Are you enslaved to pornography and making little to no progress? Or are you struggling but growing in grace and gaining victory? If you are consumed with porn and know it, stopping seminary is the best option – or – at least postponing it until you are able to get adequate help. For the man who is enslaved to porn, ministry is not the answer- Jesus is.

However, if you struggle hard but fall occasionally, quitting seminary might not be the best counsel. In order for you to qualify for ministry, you must be fighting this sin vigorously and see Jesus giving you victory in battle. The pulpit and the pastor are called to be above reproach (1 Timothy 3:2).

Discovering a tumor and excising it is painful and frightening. Yet everyone would trade the short pain of surgery for a cancer free body. Sin thrives in secret. Mold, bacteria, fungus and all manner of porn fester in the dark. True confession may be a brief pain, but it brings sweet relief.  Every broken porn addict who comes to Christ will never be turned away.  He creates a clean heart and renews a right spirit (Psalm 51:10). Confess your sin to God and then confess your sin to a mature Christian leader in your life. God has given us pastors and mentors to help us grow in godliness. They will welcome you with open arms and then hopefully strengthen you in the faith.

“Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands you sinners and purify your hearts you double-minded. Be wretched and mourn and weep. Let your laughter be turned to sorrow and your joy to gloom. Humble yourself before the Lord and He will exalt you.” (James 4:7-10)

This is an excerpt from the article “Dear Young Seminarians” in the Seminarian Student Magazine of Toronto Baptist Seminary. You can read the full article along with other helpful articles on Pornography and Purity here

An Unexpected Opportunity

Mom in the Philippines
by Sean Perron

This holiday season I want to encourage you to do the unexpected. My parents have challenged me to look beyond the familiar and consider the hurting church abroad.

Last month, my mom and dad spent a week ministering to children at a local Christian school overseas. This school virtually unknown in my realm of social media and is a part of an organization called ABC. It is a non-denominational ministry organization that has a ministry in the Philippines. The gospel is being preached and children are being touched for the kingdom of Christ.

Just days after my parents left this school, the horrific typhoon Haiyan struck the Philippines. The ABC school and neighborhood was overrun with putrid water and devastating wind. What little these people had available has been further torn and tattered.

My dad was able to contact the ministry facilitator to learn that he has survived. The building is standing but it is in shambles. An estimated $10,000 worth of repairs will be needed to become fully operational again. I have included some pictures of the ministry before the typhoon and after my parents left.

The Filipino church did not expect a hurricane to devastate their region. This unexpected tragedy has brought pain to the body of Christ and cracked open a need for help. Perhaps this holiday season you can be a part of the unexpected and bless fellow believers across the globe. I invite you to both pray and give what you can.

Here is the address where donations can be sent. (Tax deductible)

c/o Maxwell Ditta
2280 Grand Central Parkway #17-2
Orlando, FL 32839

Make check to

Memo – For School Typhoon Damage

Making Decisions


Christians can often be confused about God’s will for their lives. Perhaps even the thought of making decisions stirs up anxiety and paralyzing fear. How should we think through the decision making process? It starts with Scripture, includes desires, and ends with resting in God’s kind sovereignty.

God guides first and foremost through his revealed will.

His revealed will can be found in the Bible and is not hidden from believers. God has been kind to give believers specific directions concerning life and godliness. If someone is looking for inner direction without listening to God’s directions in the Bible, it’s like they are looking for eyeglasses that are already on his nose. It does not make sense to ignore what God has already spoken in an effort to obtain special knowledge of his secret will. Kevin DeYoung writes, “Expecting God to reveal some hidden will of direction is an invitation to disappointment and indecision.”

What are some of the specific directions God has given in his Scripture? The Bible is clear that holiness is a part of his will for every Christian’s life (Heb. 12:14). God’s will for every Christian is to grow in godliness (1 Thess. 4:3). One very practical question for making decisions is “will this cause me to look more like Jesus?” If the answer is “no” to this question, God is guiding you away from that direction. If the answer is “yes”, God has given you some strong measure of direction on the matter.

It might be helpful to eliminate choices during the decision process. For instance, the Proverbs address the issue of work ethic and time management (Prov. 6:6-11; 10:4-5; 12:27). The question should be asked, how could I work to the glory of God in the current situation I am in? This type of question seeks to apply God’s revealed will and therefore glorify God in everything (1 Cor 10:31). God certainly honors this obedience and fills the believer’s heart with joy instead of gloom. Instead of being reactive and waiting for God to give an inner sense, it would be more biblical to begin obeying the commands found in the Bible which God has already revealed.

God can use desires to guide us.

After taking assessment of the facts of Scripture, how should a believer make decisions between multiple good biblical choices? Perhaps there are three promising job opportunities that all meet the biblical criteria. Perhaps there are two potential mates that are pursuing Christ and have great personalities. One helpful question at this point is, which do I desire most?

The Bible addresses how the desires of the heart fit into the decision making process. Psalm 37:4 says “Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart.” This verse teaches that desires are in fact an aspect of God’s guidance. There is an “inner sense” that God sometimes gives concerning decisions in life. However, this inner sense is formed by the truths of Scripture. If someone is delighting in God, then their desires will certainly be shaped by God and his words. In this way, a person can have freedom to act as he desires if he is walking with Christ daily. There is a freedom God gives to those who love him and God leads them by the desires he gives them. One should not be afraid to act if the desire is informed by the Bible and flowing from a heart that is seeking Christ. God leads his people by giving desires as they delight themselves in him. It has rightly been pointed out by DeYoung that even the apostle Paul made decisions this way in Acts 15:28 and 20:16. This is a freeing reality and it can help immensely to know that God often wants his people to act on upon the things they want.

God guides our lives under his caring sovereignty.

What if we don’t know what we should do? We must trust God to guide us even when we are confused. Making decisions in life cannot be addressed without mentioning the sovereignty of God. Romans 8:28 is an important in understanding how God directs the circumstances and decisions of life for the good of his people, “We know that God works all things together for good for those who love God and are the called according to his purpose.” Learning that God sovereignly works even the smallest decisions out for the good of his people is a big relief. We can be confident that God will work all things together for our good if we love God.

Paul gives us a beautiful passage in Ephesians 1:3-14. In verse 11, he says that we have an inheritance with the God who works all things according to the counsel of his will. This is comforting and reassuring that God’s loving guidance surrounds us at all times. Gerald Bray writes, “Predestination is an intensely practical belief, very closely tied to what we often call ‘guidance.’ If I have a clear sense of my long-term destiny, then that will affect the way I live and will influence how I evaluate the events of my everyday life.” If a believer is delighting himself in the Word and beginning to obey the Scriptures in any given issue he encounters, then he can feel freedom under the sovereignty of God to act according to the desires God places in his heart.

This is also encouraging because even if he does not feel any overwhelming desires, he can trust that God will order his steps for his good. Proverbs 16:3-9 tells the believer to commit their work to the Lord and then their plans will be established. Desires do not have to be present in order for God to be kind to his people and guide their steps.

When it comes to making decisions believers must:

1)   Begin pursuing holiness in every area of God’s revealed will in the Bible.

2)   Align their thinking under the caring sovereignty of God.

3)   Feel freedom to act in faith knowing that God will direct his paths.


Leaving a Church?

by Sean Perron
by Sean Perron


I have recently been reading Dr. Greg Allison’s book Sojourners and Strangers: The Doctrine of the Church. While I don’t find myself agreeing with everything he proposes, I have found the book incredibly helpful and well worth the read. One example of this are the questions Dr. Allison suggest to ask before leaving a church. Perhaps you are contemplating leaving your local congregation. Are there any guidelines for thinking through this difficult issue? I hope you are helped these questions:

1. Have I expended all of my opportunities to effect change in this church?

2. Will continued participation in this church exert a negative impact on my relationship with and worship of God, my ministry for Jesus Christ, the use of my spiritual gifts, etc.?

3. Do I have to compromise too much— essential doctrines and practices, a lifestyle in accordance with biblical values and principles— principles— in order to remain in this church?

4. Do I have a legitimate reason for leaving?

5. For members who also serve in positions of leadership in a church, an additional question should be posed: has God released me from my current responsibilities in the church so that I am free to leave?

A positive answer to any or even all of these questions does not necessarily mean that the step of leaving one’s church is the right one. These questions serve only as indicators, not strict determiners of one’s actions, so positive responses may indicate that leaving the church is the proper course of action but they do not demand departure. Indeed, leaving a true church should be a fairly rare step; certainly, it should be far less common than it is in many of today’s evangelical churches. An important reason for this affirmation is that it violates the unity of the church.”

Allison, Gregg R. (2012-11-30). Sojourners and Strangers: The Doctrine of the Church (Foundations of Evangelical Theology) (Kindle Locations 4359-4365). Crossway. Kindle Edition.


The Hidden Sin

by Sean Perron
by Sean Perron

Christian leaders can sometimes seem perfect. With the use of social media and internet, a blog or video can go viral overnight. A large church with thousands of members can admire and love a preacher from afar. When we look at someone’s life from a distance, things can look rather picturesque. We can forget that they are human. We can forget that they struggle with sin. Upon closer examination we can see cracks, faults, chips, and scuffs.

How should we respond when a Christian leader is found having an affair? Or when a pastor has been embezzling the tithe? What if we are currently preparing to go into a public ministry? How can we avoid these things?

Exodus 4:21- 27 is an unusual text that we must pay attention to. God threatened to kill Moses’ son Gershom because he was not circumcised. Moses was leading with the staff of God yet did not even have the sign of the covenant on his son. Only a few knew about this hidden sin.

When we read this story about how God almost put Moses’ son to death, and then we read the story about where God did put his own Son to death – we realize that God is serious about every sin – even the most private sins – especially among the leaders of His people.

Listen to the full audio

Of Sins and Cinemas

by Spencer Harmon

Iron Man 3.  The Great Gatsby.  Star Trek.  Man of Steel.  The Wolverine.  300.

Within the next three months, you are most likely going to be invited to see one of these movies.  And not only these, a vast array of other highly anticipated summer films.  Your favorite stars, your favorite stories, during your favorite season.  From the ultra-conservative who only watches movies recommended by their pastor, to the movie connoisseur who finds “gospel” even in the most explicit films, the cinema often creates blurry lines for Christians who live in between two worlds. Here are a few categories and cautions to be thinking about as you consider going to the theater for the hottest summer flicks.

Research.  You should never feel victimized by sin at the movie theater.  In our day, there are several resources available to you to aid in making a decision about going to see a movie at the theater.  First, a simple glance at the rating of a movie can save you a lot of heartache.  If the movie is rated R for sexual content and nudity, don’t go.  Is this legalism?  No.  It’s fleeing sexual immorality (1 Corinthians 6:18), and it will help you see God (Matthew 5:8).  Yet, some movies demand more careful thought.  At this point, I always find it helpful to check a movie review site.  You can find sites that offer a Christian perspective, or just the facts.  Either way, you should never walk out of the theater feeling taken advantage of – the resources are available.  Take and use!

Bail.  Sometimes, whether because of neglect or some other outlying circumstance, you will find yourself in the theater when the movie goes downhill.  If the movie is causing you to sin, you should leave.  Walking out of the theater does several things.  First, it tells the truth.  When you leave the theater during a sex scene, you are telling the truth about marriage, sex, covenant love, and purity.  When you leave the theater during uncalled for, excessive, cruel, and unnecessary gore and violence, you are telling the truth about courage, honor, dignity, and human worth.  Second, it provokes conversation.  Why did you leave the theater?  Why do you care so much about what you watch that it would cause you to walk out?  Third, and most importantly, it protects your soul.  We can grieve the Holy Spirit by the things that we do and say (Ephesians 4:30), and we should be striving to keep ourselves in the love of God (Jude 21).  Sometimes, obedience means saying excuse me, sidestepping out of the aisle, and waiting in the lobby of the theater.

Engage.  No matter what you are watching, you should watch movies like a Christian.  There are glorious amounts of truth to be gleaned at the cinema, but horrendous amounts of deceit to be rejected as well.  Ask yourself good questions while watching the film:  What are the makers of this film trying to say to me?  How do the relationships, circumstances, and actions of the characters relate to how the Bible presents life?  Hebrews 5:14 says that mature Christians are those who, “…have their powers of discernment trained by constant practice to distinguish good from evil” Movies present wonderful opportunities to exercise moral discernment.  Don’t watch passively.

Engage Together.  Let movies that you see with friends lead to good discussion.  It is good at times to take a few moments to gawk at incredible special effects in the movies, but if that is all you ever talk about you are missing out on a world of fellowship.  Ask questions in the car on the way not just about things you liked and disliked, but things you agreed with and disagreed with.  Let the movie spur you on to depth.  Movies can lead to conversations about war, marriage, love, hate, relationships, divorce, death, eternity, God, politics, and a million other important life issues.  Engage in these discussions during the summer – let these talks take you late into the night.

Beware of Infiltration.  There is nothing like a steady diet of Hollywood to corrupt your view on beauty, truth, and goodness.  Don’t forget that the Bible says that charm is deceitful and beauty is vain (Proverbs 31:30) when you see nothing but coke-bottle figures, and rough whisked buff tough guys presented as beauty.  Don’t forget that you are called to forgive and show grace (Ephesians 4:32), even though revenge is portrayed as the only way to respond to hurt.  All too easily, Hollywood begins informing your values instead of Scripture.  It rouses your feelings before faith, your passions before principles.

Beware of Saturation.  It seems that during the summer, every Friday holds a new film.  Every film claims to be the film of the year.  And you don’t want to miss out, do you?  Remember that you are called to seek the Lord’s presence (Psalm 105:4), and enjoy his free grace, not gorge on movies.  Sure, enjoy a movie with friends; however, don’t become so saturated with the newest and  latest this summer that the only means of “fellowship” you know is happening in front of movies instead of in real conversation about real life things.

Remember, the aim at the theater is not to please your friends, please yourself, or your pastor.  The aim is to please God and honor him with life.  Holiness happens in the small circumstances. It happens with steps. The thoughtful response, the restrained tongue, and even the intentional watcher of film glorify God.  It’s here that the battles are fought.

Suicidal Gossip

  • Image
    by Sean Perron
  • I love him very much. I really respect him. But I’m very concerned about one of our pastors… He was seen at the church with a woman. I heard they were alone after hours for “counseling.”

  • I am really frustrated… I was not invited. They never invite me to anything anymore. I think it is because she was going too far with her boyfriend and didn’t like it when I called her out on it.


Perhaps you have heard conversations like these before, or perhaps you have been a part of them. Forbes magazine said the number one way to destroy a company was to let gossip run rampant. Gossip can divide families, cripple friendships, and split a church overnight. A reputation can be ruined in less than one minute. It only takes one domino to start a series of catastrophic conversations. It is a kudzu that spreads and covers it’s victims until it suffocates them. Gossip is like a cut left unattended which can slowly bleed the life out of someone.

Proverbs 18:7-8 says,

A fool’s mouth is his ruin, and his lips are a snare to his soul.The words of a whisperer are like delicious morsels; they go down into the inner parts of the body.

What is gossip?

Gossip is talking about a person to someone who is not a part of the problem nor a part of the solution.

This is not a watertight definition, but I do believe it is helpful.

The Bible gives credence for confronting someone spreading gossip. This would be an example of talking to someone who is a part of the problem. But what do I mean by talking to someone who is a part of the solution? It can be helpful in some circumstances to seek outside help on an issue for the purpose of bringing peace. Matthew 18:15-20 would be a good example of two going to talk with someone who is in sin. I also see the Biblical possibility about seeking wisdom from a more mature Christian to give insight in a scenario (Matthew 18:21-22). This would be talking to someone who is a part of the solution and can be done in a way that maintains the honor of the person being discussed.

But my purpose here is not to define gossip and all its gritty facets. Instead, I want to quickly point out an effect of gossip that is often overlooked.

We all know that slander can destroy our neighbors, but we do not realize it destroys us.  Gossip ruins the gossiper.

Proverbs 18:7-8 says,

“A fool’s mouth is his ruin,

and his lips are a snare to his soul.”

A fool’s mouth is his ruin. It does not just say, “destroys his neighbor”. Rather, the Proverbs make it clear that gossip destroys the gossiper. Gossip does not merely scorch someone else, it burns us as well. The gossiper is like the arsonist who intentionally sets the forest on fire, but accidently sets ablaze every exit of the forest and finds himself trapped.

Gossip not only ruins the reputation of others, it ruins the reputation of the gossiper. The slanderer is someone working with a terrorist organization who does not know the slander has signed him up to be a suicide bomber. The gossiper is unaware that when he is detonating a bomb to destroy the reputation of others, that bomb is actually strapped to his back.

How can this be?  The moment we gossip, we destroy our reputation.  The moment we gossip is the moment we lose all credibility. The gossiper automatically deems himself untrustworthy.

Proverbs 25:9-10 says,

Argue your case with your neighbor himself,

  and do not reveal another’s secret,

lest he who hears you bring shame upon you,

  and your ill repute have no end.

The New Living translation says “you will never regain your reputation.”

Think about it. You cannot trust someone who shares the secrets of others. The way they talk about others is the way they will talk about you. The moment you share someone else’s secret with someone, that person can no longer trust you with their secrets.

Rest assured, the fool who gossips and slanders, brings ruin upon himself. We have all done this. We have all hurt others with our words and wounded ourselves in the process. We need a Savior who can forgive us of sin and save us from its devastating effects.

This is adapted from the sermon “Gossip and the Gospel