Having been the recipient of both gossip and slander, I speak from the heart when I tell you that there is little that is more hurtful or destructive and discouraging than these evil sins of the heart. Often, gossip and slander take place when the one being talked about is not there to defend themselves. Such is the cowardly nature of these twin destroyers.
No Such Thing as Respectable Sin
Sin is sin. There is no such thing as a respectable sin. James (and John MacArthur’s comments) illustrate a powerful truth about us incredibly flawed human beings and that is the evil inside of ourselves is far worse than the evil outside of ourselves. We have a knack for underestimating our own depravity and magnifying the depravity of others or simply blaming the devil for what we ourselves are responsible for.
We can be, ever so self-righteous when it comes to the sins of others while our self-righteousness serves us as the best defense attorney ever!
The comic strip character Pogo said, “we have met the enemy and he is us.” I think Pogo knew John Calvin and something about the Scriptures.
Unless gossip and slander are nipped in the bud by church leaders it is inevitable (according to James) that the fire will spread. When that happens, truth takes a vacation and it becomes all about who said what and when they said it. This ought not be.
The good news is that it is never too late to apply the gospel. But in order to do that one has to get in touch with one’s own depravity. Without getting in touch with one’s own bad news one can never fully appreciate the gospel good news of grace, mercy, forgiveness, restoration, reconciliation, hope, patience, power and healing.
The gospel is for sinners like you and I. All we have to do is apply it. When we do, the truth shall set us free.
And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ. Php. 1:6, ESV