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Daily Devotions from Lutheran Hour Ministries

"Gossip or Gospel?"

June 9, 2004

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A gossip betrays a confidence, but a trustworthy man keeps a secret. Proverbs 11:13

Gossip – what an ugly word! The dictionary defines it as “idle, often malicious talk, especially about others.” The writer of Proverbs bluntly calls a gossip one who “betrays a confidence.” The word has a disgusting ring.

Rarely do we think of ourselves as gossips. Others talk on the phone at length with the latest news about the new minister. Others enjoy scandalous celebrity newspapers in grocery checkout lines. Others regularly break confidences. But we join in the conversation only when we have the facts.

Could it be that we too are guilty of gossip? We permit others to talk in our presence. We find our own tongue slipping. We damage reputations. We strain friendships. That ugly word “gossip” comes home to roost, and we need to confess our sin.

Surprisingly enough, the word “gossip” comes from the Old English word “God-sibb,” meaning baptismal sponsor or relative. To me God-sibb suggests the word “Gospel,” the good news that God sent His only Son Jesus Christ to die on the cross for our sins. In Baptism that Gospel changes us into God’s own special people. He gives us confidence or faith in Him as Savior and urges us to share that Gospel freely, no secrets reserved. That Gospel announces full forgiveness for our sins of gossip and gives us the power to hold our tongues when we should and to speak the Good News when we can. You see, Jesus Christ “was oppressed and afflicted, yet He did not open His mouth” (Isaiah 53:7), and when He spoke, many of His words were Gospel: “Father forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing” (Luke 23:34).

By God’s grace the ugly word “gossip” can be transformed into the beautiful word “Gospel.” Which will it be for you?

PRAYER: Father, forgive us for idle, malicious words. Fill our mouths with the Good News of Your Son Jesus Christ. Amen.

(Devotions from “My Daily Devotion” by Dr. Stephen J. Carter, copyright 1988 CPH. All Rights Reserved. No part of this publication may be printed, reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without prior written permission of Concordia Publishing House. For ordering information, please contact CPH at 800-325-3040 or visit

Today's Bible Readings: 1 Kings 1-2    John 18:19-40

Change Their World. Change Yours. This changes everything.

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