Thursday, September 03, 2015

Resisting Gossip: Winning the War of the Wagging Tongue



One Year Old!

Resisting Gossip was released on September 3, 2013 by CLC Publications.

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Preview, download, and read the endorsements, table of contents, foreword by Ed Welch of CCEF, introduction, and first chapter here.

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and in a growing list of e-book formats.

Now Even More

Go deeper into Resisting Gossip with the new participant's guide and Bible study Resisting Gossip Together, the corresponding video teaching series, and the Spanish version, Resistiendo el Chisme.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Meddling

Our series towards a biblical definition of gossip continues through the phenomenon in the Old Testament we call "gossip" even when a technical term is not used. Today's post is about the third of four important and related concepts, along with exposition of key texts.

Leave the Passing Cur Alone

Meddling In Others’ Business. Proverbs 26:17 says, “Like one who seizes a dog by the ears is a passer-by who meddles in a quarrel not his own.” The image in the first part of the proverb almost grabs the reader like the fool it describes! The point of the proverb is to motivate its readers to mind their own business and not meddle in others’. Waltke explains, “The dispute, which itself entails getting hurt (see 17:14), is likened to a semiwild dog. . . . Grabbing it by its sensitive ears connotes the inevitability of getting hurt in the needless dispute. . . . The senseless busybody should leave the passing cur alone, and the disciple should walk away from a dispute in which he has no interest.”48 We will see that the theme of minding one’s own business will be amplified in the New Testament (1 Thess 4:11, 2 Thess 3:11, 1 Tim 5:13).

Notes

[48] Bruce K. Waltke, The Book of Proverbs: Chapters 15-31, NICOT (Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing, 2005), 359.

Previous Posts in "Toward a Definition of Gossip"


Thursday, November 20, 2014

Evil Reports

Our series towards a biblical definition of gossip continues through the phenomenon in the Old Testament we call "gossip" even when a technical term is not used. Today's post is about the second of four important and related concepts, along with exposition of key texts.

Not Just What You Say But How You Present It

Bad Reports. A Hebrew term seldom translated “gossip” in English versions42 but clearly related is dibbah.This word can mean “whispering, defamation, evil report.”43 It sometimes refers to a true report of some evil action, but can also refer to “a report slanted to damage the victim.”44 Dibbah is what Joseph brought to Jacob about his brothers in Genesis 37:2. It is likely that his ten brothers were doing wrong, so Joseph may not have been lying, but he was at least being an annoying tattletale.45 Dibbah is also what ten of the Israelite survey team brought back after spying out the land of Canaan (Num 13:32, 14:36-37). Clearly what they said was wrong–not that the facts about the land and its inhabitants were inaccurate, but their assessment of what God could and would do was evil. Gossip is not just what you say but how you present it.

A Hiss in the Middle

Dibbah appears in Proverbs 10:18, “He who conceals hatred has lying lips, and whoever spreads slander [dibbah] is a fool.” Waltke explains, “The enjambment of v.18 combines the liar . . . with the slanderer as the compound subject with one predicate. The construction leaves no doubt that hatred inspires slander informed by innuendoes, half-truths, and facts distorted and exaggerated beyond recognition (cf. 6:17, 19). In other words, this fool spreads slander, concealing his hatred with lying lips.”46 Interestingly, Waltke draws attention (by quoting Ted Hildebrandt) to the preponderance of sibilants in this verse (six times) so that its message is amplified by a long hissing sound as it is read.47 Sharing an injurious report with others is foolish. The very next verse suggests one antidote to gossip–keeping your mouth shut. “When words are many, sin is not absent, but he who holds his tongue is wise” (Prov 10:19).

Dibbah is used again in Psalm 31, “For I hear the slander of many; there is terror on every side; they conspire against me and plot to take my life” (Ps 31:13, v.14 in Hebrew). David is under attack, and this time it includes evil reports which have reached his ears. They might be just malicious rumors, but they are terrifying to the king.

Notes

[42] The one exception is Ezekiel 36:3 in the ESV. “Therefore prophesy, and say, Thus says the Lord God: Precisely because they made you desolate and crushed you from all sides, so that you became the possession of the rest of the nations, and you became the talk and evil gossip of the people . . . the nations that are all around you shall themselves suffer reproach” (Ezek 36:3,7). Israel may have deserved this evil report, but the nations gloried in it, and for that they will be repaid.

[43] BDB 179.

[44] Bruce K. Waltke, The Book of Proverbs: Chapters 1-15, NICOT (Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing, 2004), 470.

[45] Tattling is, therefore, a form of gossip. It is gossiping to someone in authority instead of to someone uninvolved. The action of tattling is wrong because the motive is. Ambiguity of discerning motives can then make it difficult for authority figures, including parents, to diagnose tattling as sin. But most loving parents can tell anyway because they know their children well. For more on dibbah in Genesis 37:2, see Bruce K. Waltke and Cathi J. Fredricks, Genesis: A Commentary (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2001), 499; Victor Hamilton, The Book of Genesis: Chapters 18-50, NICOT (Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing, 1995), 406; Gordon J. Wenham, Genesis 16-50, WBC 2 (Waco: Word Books, 1994), 350.

[46] Bruce K. Waltke, The Book of Proverbs: Chapters 1-15, NICOT (Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing, 2004), 469.

[47] Ibid.

Previous Posts in "Toward a Definition of Gossip"



Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Intro Video for "Fire and Stone" by the Gray Havens

A new video introducing both our favorite band and their upcoming new release.



Hear Dave and Licia talk about storytelling, love of books, musical depth, variety, and a number of other key ideas. {Also a cameo from their producer, Mitch Dane, about what he loves about their music.}

The background music will sound familiar to those who have viewed The Resisting Gossip Teaching Series!


"Well, I Think..."

"A fool finds no pleasure in understanding
         but delights in airing his own opinions."

- Proverbs 18:2 (NIV 1984)


Tuesday, November 18, 2014

The Gossip Mask of Shame

My kids found this in one of the books they're reading for school.

The caption says, "A German 'mask of shame' worn by women found guilty of gossiping."

Ouch. 

A few questions and thoughts about this mask:

1. Where is the corresponding mask for men found gossiping?

2. What kind of gossip qualified a lady for this costume? Slanderous? Idle? Malicious? Careless?

3. I'm sure this was effective at curtailing the outward behavior, for a time, for certain folks. But it probably pushed the gossip into even more sneaky modes because it doesn't really get at the core problem.

4. The worst part of this approach, I think, is that it's not redemptive. There is no place to go with the shame. Thankfully, followers of Christ have a safe place to run.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Evil Listening

Our series towards a biblical definition of gossip moves on from the Hebrew words most often translated "gossip" to other phenomenon in the Old Testament we call "gossip" even when a technical term is not used. Today's post is about the first of four important and related concepts, along with exposition of key texts.

No Taste for Truth

Evil Listening. We encountered the importance of listening in Proverbs 18:8 and 26:22.The words of a gossiping person are very attractive to a listener but very harmful. Now we learn something more. The book of Proverbs warns not just of evil speech but of evil listening. For example, Proverbs 17:4 states, “A wicked man listens to evil lips; a liar pays attention to a destructive tongue.” Popular paraphrases see gossip in this verse. The NLT renders it, “Wrongdoers eagerly listen to gossip; / liars pay close attention to slander.” The Message has “Evil people relish malicious conversation; the ears of liars itch for dirty gossip.”39

The important thing to grasp is that Proverbs 17:4 is saying that a certain kind of listening to evil speech is just as evil as saying it. Waltke summarizes, “The synonymous parallelism of v.4 underscores the startling truth that the one who listens to lies is himself a liar. . . . How one uses his lips and tongue is inseparably connected to that which he inclines his ears. Both the liar and his willing audience have no taste for truth.”40  Kidner adds, “Evil words die without a welcome; and the welcome gives us away.”41

Consequences for Evil Listening

The rest of the Old Testament bears this out. Listening is vitally important, and if we listen to the wrong people or in the wrong way, there will be disastrous consequences. Adam “listened” to his wife, and it resulted in the curse (Gen 3:17). Proverbs 29:12 says, “If a ruler listens to lies, all his officials become wicked.” Evil listening is contagious. Proverbs 25:26 says, “Like a muddied spring or a polluted well is a righteous man who gives way to the wicked.” A compromise in listening will sully your soul.

Notes

[39] Eugene H. Peterson, The Message: New Testament With Psalms and Proverbs (Colorado Springs: Navpress, 1995), 900.

[40] Bruce K. Waltke, The Book of Proverbs: Chapters 15-31, NICOT (Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing, 2005), 41.

[41] Derek Kidner, Proverbs, TOTC 15 (Downers Grove: Inter-Varsity Press, 1971), 123.

Previous Posts in "Toward a Definition of Gossip"



Sunday, November 16, 2014

Saturday, November 15, 2014