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Source: BR693; ACS

B027 Gossiping & Backbiting

1.  WHAT does the ninth commandment forbid?

“Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour.” Ex 20:16.

NOTE.—The evident object of this commandment is to guard the rights, interests, and reputation of our neighbour, by guarding our conversation, and confining our words to that which is strictly true.

2.  What instruction did John the Baptist give the soldiers who asked of him advice regarding the way of life?

“And he said unto them, Do violence to no man, neither accuse any falsely; and be content with your wages.” Luke 3:14.

3.  What is one test of a perfect man?

“If any man offend not in word, the same is a perfect man, and able also to bridle the whole body.” James 3:2.

4.  How did Christ teach the importance of guarding our speech?

“But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment.  For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned.” Matt 12:36, 37.

5.  To whom are our words all known?

“For there is not a word in my tongue, but, lo, O Lord, Thou knowest it altogether.” Ps 139:4.

6.  Of what are one’s words an index?

“Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh.” Matt 12:34.

7.  What conduct is condemned by the Scriptures?

“Thou shalt not go up and down as a talebearer among thy people: neither shalt thou stand against the blood of thy neighbour: I am the Lord.” Lev 19:16.

8.  To what are the words of a talebearer compared?  “The words of a talebearer are as wounds.” Prov 26:22.

9.  What is their effect?

“He that covereth a transgression seeketh love; but he that repeateth a matter separateth very friends.” Prov 17:9.

10.  What would follow if there were no talebearers?

“Where no wood is, there the fire goeth out: so where there is no talebearer, the strife ceaseth.” Prov 26:20.

11.  Among other things, what did Paul fear he would find in the Corinthian church?

“For I fear, lest, when I come, I shall not find you such as I would, and that I shall be found unto you such as ye would not: lest there be debates, envyings, wraths, strifes, backbitings, whisperings, swellings, tumults.” 2 Cor 12:20.

12.  What result follows backbiting and like evils?

“For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.  But if ye bite and devour one another, take heed that ye be not consumed one of another.” Gal 5:14, 15.

13.  How may a backbiting tongue be rebuked?

“The north wind driveth away rain: so doth an angry countenance a backbiting tongue.” Prov 25:23.

14.  To whom is the promise made of abiding in the tabernacle of the Lord, and dwelling in His holy hill?

“He that walketh uprightly, and worketh righteousness, and speaketh the truth in his heart.  He that backbiteth not with his tongue, nor doeth evil to his neighbour, nor taketh up a reproach against his neighbour.” Ps 15:2, 3.

NOTE.—“Never carry a sword in your tongue to wound the reputation of any man,” says Kirkle.  Noah Webster laid down this rule: “We should say nothing of a person in his absence that we should be unwilling to say if he were present.” How few govern their conversation according to this rule! See Prov 31:10, 26.

15.  What caution is given in regard to receiving an accusation against an elder?

“Against an elder receive not an accusation, but before two or three witnesses.” 1 Tim 5:19.

NOTE.—“He that lends an easy and credulous ear to calumny is either a man of very mean morals, or has no more sense of understanding than a child.” Menander.

16.  Can man, unrenewed by grace, control his tongue?

“For every kind of beasts, and of birds, and of serpents, and of things in the sea, is tamed, and hath been tamed of mankind: but the tongue can no man tame; it is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison.” James 3:7, 8.

17.  As a guard against the misuse of the power of speech, therefore, for what should we pray?

“Set a watch, O Lord, before my mouth; keep the door of my lips.” Ps 141:3.

18.  What vow did David take against offenses of the tongue?

“I said, I will take heed to my ways, that I sin not with my tongue: I will keep my mouth with a bridle, while the wicked is before me.” Ps 39:1.

19.  What is a sure cure for backbiting?

“Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.” Matt 22:39.  “Whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them.” Matt 7:12.  “Speak evil of no man.” Titus 3:2.  See also James 4:11.

20.  What are those words like which are fitly spoken?

“A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in pictures of silver.” Prov 25:11.

“KEEP a watch on your words, my darlings,

For words are wonderful things:

They are sweet like bees’ fresh honey;

Like the bees they have terrible stings;

They can bless like the warm, glad sunshine,

And brighten a lonely life;

They can cut in the strife of anger,

Like an open, two-edged knife.”

Gossip

“There are some, both men and women, who gossip more than they pray. They have not clear spiritual discernment. They are far from God. When they talk with the patients, their attitude seems to say, Report and we will report it.”  MM 212.

“Difficulties are often caused by the vendors of gossip, whose whispered hints and suggestions poison unsuspecting minds and separate the closest friends. Mischief-makers are seconded in their evil work by the many who stand with open ears and evil heart, saying: ‘Report, … and we will report it.’ This sin should not be tolerated among the followers of Christ. No Christian parent should permit gossip to be repeated in the family circle or remarks to be made disparaging the members of the church.”  5T 241, 242.

“The giddy laugh, the jesting, the joking, sickens the soul that is feeding on Christ. Cheap, foolish talk is painful to Him. With a humble heart read carefully 1 Peter 1:13-18. Those who enjoy talking should see that their words are select and well chosen. Be careful how you speak. Be careful how you represent the religion you have accepted. You may feel it no sin to gossip and talk nonsense, but this grieves your Saviour, and saddens the heavenly angels.”  FE 457.

“When these tea and coffee users meet together for social entertainment, the effects of their pernicious habit are manifest. All partake freely of the favorite beverages, and as the stimulating influence is felt, their tongues are loosened, and they begin the wicked work of talking against others. Their words are not few or well chosen. The tidbits of gossip are passed around, too often the poison of scandal as well. These thoughtless gossipers forget that they have a witness. An unseen Watcher is writing their words in the books of heaven. All these unkind criticisms, these exaggerated reports, these envious feelings, expressed under the excitement of the cup of tea, Jesus registers as against Himself. ‘Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these My brethren, ye have done it unto Me.'”  CD 423.

“The teacher can do much to discourage that evil habit, the curse of the community, the neighborhood, and the home‑‑the habit of backbiting, gossip, ungenerous criticism. In this no pains should be spared. Impress upon the students the fact that this habit reveals a lack of culture and refinement and of true goodness of heart; it unfits one both for the society of the truly cultured and refined in this world and for association with the holy ones of heaven.”  Ed 235.

“Closely allied to gossip is the covert insinuation, the sly innuendo, by which the unclean in heart seek to insinuate the evil they dare not openly express. Every approach to these practices the youth should be taught to shun as they would shun the leprosy.”  Ed 236.

“The atmosphere of unbelief is heavy and oppressive. The giddy laugh, the jesting, the joking, sickens the soul that is feeding on Christ. Cheap, foolish talk is painful to Him. With a humble heart read carefully 1 Peter 1:13‑18. Those who enjoy talking should see that their words are select and well chosen. Be careful how you speak. Be careful how you represent the religion you have accepted. You may feel it no sin to gossip and talk nonsense, but this grieves your Saviour, and saddens the heavenly angels.”  FE 457.

“I wish we could have a pledge in our hearts that we would not utter any one word against a brother or a sister. Remember that they also are tempted, it may be more strongly than you…. Those who are really the most erring are in greatest need of your help. Do not gossip about them and make remarks about their character, but go to them in the love of Jesus and the love of the truth and try to help them.”  HP 289.

“When parents, especially mothers, have a true sense of the important, responsible work which God has left for them to do, they will not be so much engaged in the business which concerns their neighbors, with which they have nothing to do. They will not go from house to house to engage in fashionable gossip, dwelling upon the faults, wrongs, and inconsistencies of their neighbors. They will feel so great a burden of care for their own children that they can find no time to take up a reproach against their neighbor.”  AH 250.

“I saw that when sisters who are given to talk get together, Satan is generally present; for he finds employment. He stands by to excite the mind and make the most of the advantage he has gained. He knows that all this gossip and talebearing and revealing of secrets and dissecting of character separates the soul from God. It is death to spirituality and a calm religious influence.”  2MCP 779.

“The psalmist asks, ‘Lord, who shall abide in thy tabernacle? Who shall dwell in thy holy hill? He that walketh uprightly, and worketh righteousness, and speaketh the truth in his heart. He that backbiteth not with his tongue, nor doeth evil to his neighbour, nor taketh up a reproach against his neighbour.’ When anyone comes to you with a tale about your neighbor, you should refuse to hear it. You should say to him, ‘Have you spoken of this matter to the individual concerned?’ … Tell him he should obey the Bible rule, and go first to his brother, and tell him his fault privately, and in love. If the directions of God were carried out, the floodgates of gossip would be closed.”  OHC 293.

“If the members of the church labor faithfully to build up the cause of truth, they will not escape the tongue of gossip, falsehood, and slander. ‘All that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.’ 2 Tim. 3:12. Their consistent, unwavering course is a constant rebuke of the unbelief, pride, and selfishness of the hypocritical professor.”  OHC 359.

“No one should be retained in any one of the Lord’s institutions who in a crisis fails of realizing that His instrumentalities are sacred. If workers have no relish for the truth; if their connection with the institution makes them no better, brings to them no love for the truth, then, after sufficient trial, separate them from the work; for their irreligion and unbelief influence others. Through them evil angels work to mislead those who are brought in as apprentices. You should obtain for apprentices those who are promising youth, those who love God. But if you place them in connection with others who have no love for God, they are in constant danger from the irreligious influence. The halfhearted and worldly, those who are given to gossip, who dwell on the faults of others, while neglecting their own, should be separated from the work.”  7T 202.

“This is the day of the Lord’s preparation. We have no time now to talk unbelief and to gossip, no time now to do the devil’s work. Let everyone beware of unsettling the faith of others by sowing seeds of envy, jealousy, disunion; for God hears the words, and judges, not by assertions, which are yea and nay, but by the fruit one’s course of action produces. ‘By their fruits ye shall know them” (Matt. 7:20). The seed sown will determine the character of the harvest.’‑‑Manuscript 32a, 1896.”  2SM 71.

“Your frivolous conversation, in common with that of other of the young people, was disgusting. There was nothing noble and elevated in the turn your minds took. It was common chitchat and gossip, the silly, vain laugh, the jesting, and the joking. Angels have written the scenes you have acted over and over again. Notwithstanding the most solemn appeals have been made to you, and you have been reproved, rebuked, and warned, you are more censurable than other youth. You have had longer experience and greater knowledge of the truth. You have lived the longest at ‑‑‑. You were among the first to profess to believe the truth and to be Christ’s followers, and your course of vanity and pride has done more toward shaping the experience of the youth in that place than has that of any of the others. Those who have been converted to the truth you have taken by the hand, as it were, and united to the world.”  2T 180.

“I saw that when sisters who are given to talk get together, Satan is generally present, for he finds employment. He stands by to excite the mind and make the most of the advantage he has gained. He knows that all this gossip, and tale-bearing, and revealing of secrets, and dissecting of character, separate the soul from God. It is death to spirituality and a calm religious influence. Sister U sins greatly with her tongue. She ought by her words to have an influence for good, but she frequently talks at random. Sometimes her words put a different construction upon things than they will bear. Sometimes there is exaggeration. Then there is misstatement. There is no intention to misstate, but the habit of much talking and talking upon things that are unprofitable has been so long cherished that she has become careless and reckless in her words, and frequently does not know what she is stating herself. This destroys any influence for good she might have.”  2T 185, 186.

“God has assigned woman her mission; and if she, in her humble way, yet to the best of her ability, makes a heaven of her home, faithfully and lovingly performing her duties to her husband and children, continually seeking to let a holy light shine from her useful, pure, and virtuous life to brighten all around her, she is doing the work left her of the Master, and will hear from His divine lips the words: Well done, good and faithful servant, enter thou into the joy of thy Lord. These women who are doing with ready willingness what their hands find to do, with cheerfulness of spirit aiding their husbands to bear their burdens, and training their children for God, are missionaries in the highest sense. They are engaged in an important branch of the great work to be done on earth to prepare mortals for a higher life, and they will receive their reward. Children are to be trained for heaven and fitted to shine in the courts of the Lord’s kingdom. When parents, especially mothers, have a true sense of the important, responsible work which God has left for them to do, they will not be so much engaged in the business which concerns their neighbors, with which they have nothing to do. They will not go from house to house to engage in fashionable gossip, dwelling upon the faults, wrongs, and inconsistencies of their neighbors. They will feel so great a burden of care for their own children that they can find no time to take up a reproach against their neighbor. Gossipers and news carriers are a terrible curse to neighborhoods and churches. Two thirds of all the church trials arise from this source.”  2T 465, 466.

“Satan has had great power over the minds of parents through their undisciplined children. The sin of parental neglect stands marked against many Sabbathkeeping parents. The spirit of gossip and talebearing is one of Satan’s special agencies to sow discord and strife, to separate friends, and to undermine the faith of many in the truthfulness of our positions. Brethren and sisters are too ready to talk of the faults and errors that they think exist in others, and especially in those who have borne unflinchingly the messages of reproof and warning given them of God.”  4T 194.

“When responsibilities are to be entrusted to an individual, the question is not asked whether he is eloquent or wealthy, but whether he is honest, faithful, and industrious; for whatever may be his accomplishments, without these qualifications he is utterly unfit for any position of trust. Many who have begun life with fair prospects fail of success because they lack industry. Young men who habitually mingle in the little groups gathered in stores or on the street, ever engaging in discussion or gossip, will never grow to the proportions of men of understanding. Continual application will accomplish for man what nothing else can. Those who are never content without the consciousness that they are growing every day will truly make a success of life.”  4T 413.

“The tongue that delights in mischief, the babbling tongue that says, Report, and I will report it, is declared by the apostle James to be set on fire of hell. It scatters firebrands on every side. What cares the vendor of gossip that he defames the innocent? He will not stay his evil work, though he  destroy hope and courage in those who are already sinking under their burdens. He cares only to indulge his scandal‑loving propensity. Even professed Christians close their eyes to all that is pure, honest, noble, and lovely, and treasure up what ever is objectionable and disagreeable, and publish it to the world.”  5T 57.

“What a world of gossip would be prevented if every man would remember that those who tell him the faults of others will as freely publish his faults at a favorable opportunity. We should endeavor to think well of all men, especially our brethren, until compelled to think otherwise. We should not hastily credit evil reports. These are often the result of envy or misunderstanding, or they may proceed from exaggeration or a partial disclosure of facts. Jealousy and suspicion, once allowed a place, will sow themselves broadcast, like thistledown. Should a brother go astray, then is the time to show your real interest in him. Go to him kindly, pray with and for him, remembering the infinite price which Christ has paid for his redemption. In this way you may save a soul from death, and hide a multitude of sins.”  5T 58, 59.

“One of the great objects to be secured in the establishment of the college was the separation of our youth from the spirit and influence of the world, from its customs, its follies, and its idolatry. The college was to build a barrier against the immorality of the present age, which makes the world as corrupt as in the days of Noah. The young are bewitched with the mania for courtship and marriage. Lovesick sentimentalism prevails. Great vigilance and tact are needed to guard the youth from these wrong influences. Many parents are blind to the tendencies of their children. Some parents have stated to me, with great satisfaction, that their sons or daughters had no desire for the attentions of the opposite sex, when in fact these children were at the same time secretly giving or receiving such attentions, and the parents were so much absorbed in worldliness and gossip that they knew nothing about the matter.”  5T 59, 60.

“It pains me to say that there are unruly tongues among church members. There are false tongues that feed on mischief. There are sly, whispering tongues. There is tattling, impertinent meddling, adroit quizzing. Among the lovers of gossip some are actuated by curiosity, others by jealousy, many by hatred against those through whom God has spoken to reprove them. All these discordant elements are at work. Some conceal their real sentiments, while others are eager to publish all they know, or even suspect, of evil against another.

  “I saw that the very spirit of perjury, that would turn truth into falsehood, good into evil, and innocence into crime, is now active. Satan exults over the condition of God’s professed people. While many are neglecting their own souls, they eagerly watch for an opportunity to criticize and condemn others. All have defects of character, and it is not hard to find something that jealousy can interpret to their injury. ‘Now,’ say these self-constituted judges, ‘we have facts. We will fasten upon them an accusation from which they can not clear themselves.’ They wait for a fitting opportunity and then produce their bundle of gossip and bring forth their tidbits.”  5T 94, 95.

“‘Blessed are the peacemakers.’ Grace and peace rest upon those who refuse to join in the strife of tongues. When vendors of scandal are passing from family to family, those who fear God will be chaste keepers at home. The time that is so often worse than wasted in idle, frivolous, and malicious gossip should be given to higher and nobler objects. If our brethren and sisters would become missionaries for God, visiting the sick and afflicted, and laboring patiently and kindly for the erring,‑‑in short, if they would copy the Pattern,‑‑the church would have prosperity in all her borders.”  5T 176.

“We think with horror of the cannibal who feasts on the still warm and trembling flesh of his victim; but are the results of even this practice more terrible than are the agony and ruin caused by misrepresenting motive, blackening reputation, dissecting character?  Let the children, and the youth as well, learn what God says about these things: ‘Death and life are in the power of the tongue.'”  AH 440, 441.

“When the benediction is pronounced, all should still be quiet, as if fearful of losing the peace of Christ. Let all pass out without jostling or loud talking, feeling that they are in the presence of God, that His eye is resting upon them, and that they must act as in His visible presence. Let there be no stopping in the aisles to visit or gossip, thus blocking them up so that others cannot pass out. The precincts of the church should be invested with a sacred reverence. It should not be made a place to meet old friends and visit and introduce common thoughts and worldly business transactions. These should be left outside the church. God and angels have been dishonored by the careless, noisy laughing and shuffling of feet heard in some places.”  5T 493, 494.

“An earnest effort should be made in every church to put away evilspeaking and a censorious spirit as among the sins productive of the greatest evils in the church. Severity and faultfinding must be rebuked as the workings of Satan. Mutual love and confidence must be encouraged and strengthened in the members of the church. Let all, in the fear of God and with love to their brethren, close their ears to gossip and censure. Direct the talebearer to the teachings of God’s word. Bid him obey the Scriptures and carry his complaints directly to those whom he thinks in error. This united action would bring a flood of light into the church and close the door to a flood of evil. Thus God would be glorified, and many souls would be saved.”  5T 609, 610.

“No one should be retained in any one of the Lord’s institutions who in a crisis fails of realizing that His instrumentalities are sacred. If workers have no relish for the truth; if their connection with the institution makes them no better, brings to them no love for the truth, then, after sufficient trial, separate them from the work; for their irreligion and unbelief influence others. Through them evil angels work to mislead those who are brought in as apprentices. You should obtain for apprentices those who are promising youth, those who love God. But if you place them in connection with others who have no love for God, they are in constant danger from the irreligious influence. The halfhearted and worldly, those who are given to gossip, who dwell on the faults of others, while neglecting their own, should be separated from the work.”  7T 202.

“How careful we should be to have our words and actions in harmony with the sacred truths that God has committed to us! … When you are associated with one another, be guarded in your words. Let your conversation be of such a nature that you will have no need to repent of it…. If a word is dropped that is detrimental to the character of a friend or brother, never encourage this evilspeaking; for it is the work of the enemy. Remind the speaker that God’s Word forbids this kind of conversation.”  RH Feb. 25, 1904.

“The spirit of gossip and talebearing is one of Satan’s special agencies to sow discord and strife, to separate friends, and to undermine the faith of many in the truthfulness of our positions.”  AH  441.

“When responsibilities are to be intrusted to an individual, the question is not asked whether he is eloquent or wealthy, but whether he is honest, faithful, and industrious; for whatever may be his accomplishments, without these qualifications he is utterly unfit for any position of trust. Many who have begun life with fair prospects, fail of success because they lack industry. Young men who habitually mingle in the little groups gathered in stores or on the street, ever engaging in discussion or gossip, will never grow to the proportions of men of understanding. Continual application will accomplish for man what nothing else can. Those who are never content without the consciousness that they are growing every day, will truly make a success of life.”  GW 165, 166 (1892 edition).

“The third angel’s message is infallible. Upon the grand, ennobling truths connected with that message you can dwell with perfect safety. Labor intelligently to encourage union of faith and union of judgment, that all may be united in the bonds of Christian fellowship and love; but do not belittle the work of God with ideas and notions of your own. Let not your ears listen to gossip from any one. If all would refuse to hear evil of their neighbor, the tale‑bearer would soon seek other employment.”  HS 122.

“The disposition to gossip, which is so wide‑spread, is displeasing to God. If those who indulge in unkind criticism or idle talk could realize that an angel of God is noting down their words, and that all are to appear against them in the Judgment, they would be far more careful as to what is entered on that book of records. How must the continual fault-finding appear to the heavenly messengers who are sent forth to minister to God’s people. Would that the eyes of all might be opened, that they might see the holy angels walking among them. Surely they would be more guarded; instead of judging their brethren and sisters, and talking of their weaknesses, they would be seeking God with the whole heart.”  HS 213.

“We are exhorted to love as brethren, to be kind, courteous, forbearing, in honor preferring one another. Love for God and for one another constitutes the divine credentials which the children of God bear to the world. ‘By this,’ said Jesus, ‘shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.’ Those who cherish this love will sacredly guard the interests of one another. No evil reports will be carried; tattling and gossip will cease; Christ and the truth will be magnified.”  HS 214.

Gossip reveals a lack of true culture and refinement, and of true goodness of heart; it unfits one both for the society of the truly cultured and refined in this world, and for association with the holy ones of heaven.”  AUCR Sept. 15, 1905.

“It is not enough in the Christian life that some changes be made. The work of reform must be deep and thorough. True Christians will not close their eyes to their own defective characters. Wrong habits which have been formed must be changed. Much talking that in no way glorifies God, is done by professed Christians. Many gossip over the faults committed by others; but those who do this do not engage in Christian conversation with the one they think in the wrong. They have no desire to meet him face to face, and in a kindly Christ‑like way tell him his faults, and pray with him, and then leave the whole matter with God.”  HM November 1, 1897.

“Those who engage in this work will see so much to correct in themselves, and will devote so much time to prayer and to comparing their characters with God’s great standard, the divine law, that they will have no time to comment and gossip over the faults or dissect the characters of others. A sense of our own imperfections should lead us to humility and earnest solicitude lest we fail of everlasting life. The words of inspiration should come home to every soul: “Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates?” If the professed people of God would divest themselves of their self‑complacency and their false ideas of what constitutes a Christian, many who now think they are in the path to Heaven would find themselves in the way of perdition. Many a proud‑hearted professor would tremble like an aspen leaf in the tempest, could his eyes be opened to see what spiritual life really is. Would that those now reposing in false security could be aroused to see the contradiction between their profession of faith and their every‑day demeanor.”  RH May 30, 1882.

“The Christian will begin and end the day with God. His speech will not be frivolous or aimless. He does not indulge in idle jesting or malicious gossip. The peace of God rules in his heart. The power of divine grace strengthens every noble purpose, softens every harsh trait. In his life and character is seen that firm, undaunted principle with which worldliness dares not tamper. Such men are recognized by the world as followers of Christ. They have learned of him. The Sun of Righteousness shines into the heart, and lights up the countenance. Every faculty is strengthened, developed, by the influence of divine grace. Such Christians have an experience that is of some value.”  RH Nov. 7, 1882.

There will ever be some who take delight in dwelling upon the real or supposed faults and failures of others, and who employ their time in seeing, hearing, or reporting something that will destroy confidence in the person criticised. Few are without visible faults; in most persons careful scrutiny will reveal some defect of character; and upon these defects in others, some professed Christians delight to dwell. The habit strengthens with indulgence, and a love for gossip becomes their ruling passion. They gather together the tid‑bits of reports,‑‑all of them, it may be, utterly devoid of truth,‑‑and feast upon the scandal, and share it with others as a rare delicacy.”  RH Aug. 28, 1883.

“An earnest effort should be made in every church to put away evil‑speaking and a censorious spirit. Severity and fault‑finding must be rebuked as the work of Satan. Mutual love and confidence must be encouraged and strengthened in the members of the church. Let all close their ears to gossip and censure. Direct the tale‑bearer to the teachings of God’s word. Bid him carry his complaints directly to those whom he thinks in error. This united action would bring a flood of light into the church, and close the door to a flood of evil.”  RH Nov. 30, 1886.

In Numbers 12 is the account of Aaron and Miriam’s conduct when they spoke against Moses. ‘And they said, Hath the Lord indeed spoken only by Moses? hath he not spoken also by us? And the Lord heard it.’ Every envious feeling, every jealousy cherished, is known to the Lord; for he reads the heart, and he hears every word spoken against those upon whom he has laid the burden of the work. How much of evil speaking is done even by those who have had but little experience in the work, little knowledge of the things of God, little realization of the holy requirements of his cause. Those who have not drunk deeply at the fountain of truth, and have not obtained an experimental knowledge of holy things, feel at liberty to criticise those whom the Lord is using in a special manner to do his work. Even youth, young men and women, have but a small stock of respect and reverence, and they make flippant remarks in regard to God’s chosen messengers, and bring their names into their idle talk and gossip. They dissect their words, and pass judgment upon them while associating together. Do they not know that this is an offense to God? If they would remember that there is a Witness to every word spoken, and that ‘God heard it,’ they would be less fluent in speaking of those whom God is using to do his work, and to carry the load of responsibilities that he has laid upon them. But respect and reverence may be cultivated. The Spirit of the Lord alone can work a reformation in those who do not respect sacred things, so that they shall have reverence for those whom God is using to do his work.”  RH Oct. 3, 1893.

“If the members of the church labor faithfully to build up the cause of truth, they will not escape the tongue of gossip, falsehood, and slander. ‘All that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.’ Their consistent, unwavering course is a constant rebuke of the unbelief, pride, and selfishness of the hypocritical professor.”  ST Jan. 12, 1882.

“Satan has many helpers. Many who profess to be Christians are aiding the tempter to catch away the seeds of truth from other hearts. Many who listen to the preaching of the word of God make it the subject of criticism at home. They sit in judgment on the sermon as they would on the words of a lecturer or a political speaker. The message that should be regarded as the word of the Lord to them is dwelt upon with trifling or sarcastic comment. The minister’s character, motives, and actions, and the conduct of fellow members of the church, are freely discussed. Severe judgment is pronounced, gossip or slander repeated, and this in the hearing of the unconverted. Often these things are spoken by parents in the hearing of their own children. Thus are destroyed respect for God’s messengers, and reverence for their message. And many are taught to regard lightly God’s word itself.”  COL 45, 46.

“‘Blessed are the peacemakers.’ Grace and peace rest upon those who refuse to join in the strife of tongues. When vendors of scandal are passing from family to family, those who fear God will chaste keepers at home. The time that is so often worse than wasted in idle, frivolous, and malicious gossip, should be given to higher and nobler objects. If the professed followers of Jesus would indeed become missionaries for God, visiting the sick and afflicted, and laboring patiently and kindly for the erring‑‑in short, if they would copy the Pattern‑‑the church would have prosperity in all her borders.”  ST Feb. 8, 1883.

“Yet this work is strangely neglected. The failure in duty on the part of parents is revealed in the deformed, one-sided characters of the children. The loose, unchristian manner in which so many bring up their children is the cause of the terrible impiety and wickedness of the youth of this age. The great burden in regard to temporal matters, which many carry who claim to be sons and daughters of God, causes them to lose sight of eternal interests. Their absorbing care for worldly things misleads their children. The sacred and the common are confused in their minds. Eternal and temporal things stand on a par. A lack of home religion leads to stumbling, to perplexing entanglements, all the way in the Christian experience, both for parents and children. The family life takes a low level. The conversation is trifling and frivolous, or even worse. There is gossip and tale-bearing, there are threats, scolding, jangling, and tantalizing. Angels see it all. Jesus, who gave his life to redeem them, beholds it. What a scene for Heaven to look upon! Will such a family be welcomed through the gates into the city of God? Never, unless they become transformed by the grace of Christ. They would carry into Heaven the same characters, the same spirit they manifest here. Thousands upon thousands will be lost because of this terrible neglect on the part of parents.”  ST May 4, 1888.

“The object of conversion is twofold, personal and relative. It is to bless us, and to make us a blessing. This is an individual work; but those who profess to believe the Word of God have so long accustomed their minds to be content with little things that they have disqualified themselves to discern and appreciate the great things prepared for them. In the place of receiving into good and honest hearts the Word that God sends in messages to help them, to elevate, ennoble, and sanctify them, they cavil and gossip over it, because it cuts directly across their inclinations. In the place of seeing their need of conversion, they regard the means which the Lord has provided to change their characters as idle tales. To them their habits are stronger than truth. Individual conversion means a change of character. Man must place himself in personal relation to Christ, that, in the place of following his own hereditary and cultivated tendencies, he may have the mind of Christ, placing himself under the moulding influence of the Holy Spirit.”  ST Nov. 11, 1897.

Gossip reveals a lack of true culture and refinement, and of true goodness of heart; it unfits one both for the society of the truly cultured and refined in this world, and for association with the holy ones of heaven.”  ST March 1, 1905. 

“The tongue that delights in mischief, the babbling tongue that says, Report, and I will report it, is declared by the apostle James to be set on fire of hell. It scatters fire‑brands on every side. What cares the vender of gossip that he defames the innocent? He will not stay his evil work, though he destroy hope and courage in those who are already sinking under their burdens. He cares only to indulge his scandal‑loving propensity. Even professed Christians close their eyes to all that is pure, honest, noble, and lovely, and treasure up whatever is objectionable and disagreeable, and publish it to the world.”  PH117 34. (Testimony to the Battle Creek Church.)

“One of the great objects to be secured in the establishment of the College was the separation of our youth from the spirit and influence of the world, from its customs, its follies, and its idolatry. The College was to build a barrier against the immorality of the present age, which makes the world as corrupt as in the days of Noah. The young are bewitched with the mania for courtship and marriage. Love‑sick sentimentalism prevails. Great vigilance and tact are needed to guard the youth from these wrong influences. Many parents are blind to the tendencies of their children. Some parents have stated to me, with great satisfaction, that their sons or daughters had no desire for the attentions of the opposite sex, when in fact these children were at the same time secretly giving or receiving such attentions, and the parents were so much absorbed in worldliness and gossip that they knew nothing about the matter.”  PH117 38, 39.

“I saw that the very spirit of perjury, that would turn truth into falsehood, good into evil, and innocence into crime, is now active, doing a work which savors of hell rather than of Heaven. Satan exults over the condition of God’s professed people. While they are neglecting their own souls, many eagerly watch for an opportunity to criticise and condemn one to whom God has entrusted responsibilities in his work. All have defects of character, and it is not hard to find something that jealousy can interpret to his injury. ‘Now,’ say these self‑constituted judges, ‘we have facts. We will fasten upon him an accusation from which he cannot clear himself.’ They wait for a fitting opportunity, and then produce their bundle of gossip, and bring forth their tit bits, against whom? against one who has served them as no other man will ever serve them, one whose hair has grown white with premature age, whose powers are enfeebled in the battle for God and the right!”  PH117 80.

“Women are not to be satisfied to be toys to be played with as a toy, and caressed and flattered, to be light and trifling, to laugh and gossip and play on an instrument of music.”  10MR 71.

“The light of truth is shining upon us as clearly as it shone upon the Jewish people, but the hearts of men are as hard and unimpressible as in the days of Christ, because they know not what they oppose. Many who claim to be standing in the light are in darkness, and know it not. They have so enshrouded themselves in unbelief that they call darkness light, and light darkness. They are ignorant of that which they condemn and oppose. But their ignorance is not such as God will excuse, for He has given them light, and they reject it. They have before them the example of the past, but they will not be warned, and unbelief is enclosing them in impenetrable darkness. They refuse to accept the testimonies they ought to believe, and are ready to accept tidbits of gossip and testimonies of men, showing their credulousness and readiness to believe that which they want to believe.”  11MR 287.

“Some who will gossip over the Bible subject of justification by faith, and cavil and question and throw out their objections, do not know what they are talking about. They do not know that they are placing themselves as bodies of darkness to intercept the bright rays of light which God has determined shall come to His people. And they will come; the third angel’s message is to go forth with power, filling the earth with its glory. And what is man that he can work against God? He may choose the darkness, he may love the darkness and be left enshrouded in darkness; but the message is to go forward in power, even if some refuse to advance with it.”  1888 (The Ellen G. White 1888 Materials) 463.

“The atmosphere of unbelief is heavy and oppressive. The giddy laugh, the jesting, and joking, sickens the soul that is feeding on Christ. Cheap, foolish talk is painful to Him. With a humble heart read carefully 1 Peter 1:13‑18. Those who enjoy talking should see that their words are select and well chosen. Be careful how you speak. Be careful how you represent the religion you have accepted. You may feel it no sin to gossip and talk nonsense, but this grieves your Saviour, and saddens the heavenly angels.”  KC 64.

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