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The Sin No One Commits

Why is it that the phrase “It’s none of my business” is always followed by the word “but”?

The Bible lists several sins of the tongue and they are all quite deadly: profanity, insults, lying, slander, complaining and criticism. Gossip is particularly deadly. It quickly destroys reputations and relationships. Many people have felt unfairly targeted and attacked by gossip. Yet oddly enough, I have never met anyone who has admitted to spreading gossip.

Yes, individuals have confessed to me that they lied. Once, a man came to apologize to me for all the complaining and negativity he had been expressing about the church. More than once, someone has said ‘sorry’ for swearing in front of me. (Apparently, swearing in front of a minister is a particularly grievous offence.) But no one owns up to gossip. It’s the sin found in every church but committed by no one.

In the New Testament, James reminds us that the tongue is a small member which can cause huge problems. Paul tells us that corrupt speech is sinful and that we are to mind our own business. “Make it your goal to live a quiet life, minding your own business and working with your hands.” (1 Thessalonians 4:11) There are plenty of warnings against gossip in the Bible and plenty of examples in church life. Yet, there seems to be a reluctance to admitting we sin by giving into the temptation to talk about matters that are none of our concern.

So if it’s ‘none of your business’, then stay quiet and don’t say anything. Better to keep your mouth shut than open it and sin by sharing information that isn’t true or loving. “Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them.” (Ephesians 4:29)

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