Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Titus 2: "not malicious gossips"

I am a little off schedule this week, but Saturday was our monthly Titus 2 study and I was unable to post on this month's topic, so here it is!

"Older women likewise are to be reverent in their behavior, not malicious gossips..." Titus 2:3

This so beautifully follows “reverent in their behavior,” because we cannot control our tongue apart from a strong relationship with our Master. We must use His word as the source of our truth. It must be the plumbline for our speech. Controlling one’s tongue is a mark of maturity. Paul is telling the older women, they must use self-control when using their tongues, so that they impart life, not death. “That they may encourage…” cannot flow from a heart marred by words of deceit and lack of truthfulness.

Well, we might say, I would not consider myself a gossip. Let’s look at this word more closely and see what God says about “gossip.”

The NASB uses the term “not malicious gossips," which in Greek (diabolos) is defined as slanderous or accusing falsely. (It is translated devil 34 times) **An interesting side note: this term diabolos is absent when speaking of men and their speech**

So ladies, what is God trying to tell us? Watch your words!! Be aware of the tongue, it can slander, deceit, tear down, accuse falsely and intentionally harm others. Now, for the zinger…
Operating on the basis of lies and false information or “maliciously gossip” is to actually imitate Satan himself, because as John 8:44 says,
"he does not stand in truth, because the truth is not in him, he is the father of lies..."

A woman who “traffics in information” is taking great liberty with something that does not “belong” to her. We must guard information shared with us. God tells us to “love our neighbor as ourself.” If you are entrusted with someone’s private information, keep it that way! It is not yours to tell, unless you have sought permission, or they have said it is ok to share.
Paul is speaking directly to “malicious gossip”, so let us put it into perspective:

Malicious: imitating or working as an accomplice to Satan with intent to do harm
Gossip: just wanting to traffic in information. Habitually reveals sensationalism

Neither is acceptable! Psalm 19:14 says,
“Let the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart be acceptable in Your sight, O Lord, my rock and my Redeemer.”

This world is full of many people with evil intent. Let us be one who goes against the grain of society and be an example of God’s character through our speech. Where is the root of the problem? In the HEART... for "the mouth speaks from that which fills the heart." (Matt 12:34)

Here is my challenge to us this month in the area of our speech:

1. What can you begin to do this week to begin building a reputation of one that is careful with her words? How can you be sure that you are imparting life each time you have the opportunity to speak.

2. Based on Proverbs 18:21, how would you characterize your speech? How does your speech change/differ when talking with co-workers? Your husband? Your friends? Your children? When you are at church?

Let us examine our hearts very carefully and seek to honor God with our words. Let us be the kind of encouragement that shows others the character of God. How can you be a godly example of a woman who watches her tongue?

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