Paul once wrote to the Corinthians, “For I am afraid that when I come I may not find you as I want you to be, and you may not find me as you want me to be. I fear that there may be quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, factions, slander, gossip, arrogance and disorder” [1 Cor. 12:20]. Gossip is diagnosed as a serious spiritual problem, not a harmless form of conversation and social entertainment, as many in the secular world would view it. God views it differently. Gossip is the opposite of the love and grace that God wants to display in our lives.
Gossip is often exaggerated (and thus, untrue), or outright fabricated. Even church people engage in gossip in a seemingly sanctimonious guise (“We really ought to pray for X – you wouldn’t believe what he told me yesterday!...”). Whether secular or “christianized,” gossip betrays trust. “A gossip betrays a confidence, but a trustworthy man keeps a secret” [Prov. 11:13]; “A perverse person stirs up dissension, and a gossip separates close friends” [Prov. 16:28] and “A gossip betrays a confidence; so avoid a person who talks too much” [Prov. 20:19]. Gossiping is symptomatic of a lack of godliness and spiritual integrity.
What makes gossip even worse is the hidden heart motive. In our social interactions, information is a sort of commodity, and especially valuable is personal information about others; and so, “The words of a gossip are like choice morsels; they go down to a person’s inmost parts” [Prov. 18:8, 26:22]. Gossip allows us to share choice morsels about others, making us feel important and allowing us to get attention in a group of people. Gossip, then, is about getting people’s attention and approval because of what we can divulge, or how we can embellish, critique, or judge the lives of others. So at its core, it is a pride issue – exalting ourselves in our social circles, and worse, doing so at another’s expense. A group of gossipers gets to play judge and jury, without a chance for the innocent to defend themselves.
Gossip often involves speaking negatively of others, and/or speaking out of negative motives, and so it is a form of accusation or falsehood. This makes gossip related to other forms of accusation – false accusation, unfair criticism, character assassination, bullying, insults, slander, and cursing others. These kinds of sins play into the enemy’s hands – the enemy, Satan, whose name means accuser [e.g., “For the accuser of our brothers and sisters, who accuses them before our God day and night, has been hurled down” Rev. 12:10b]. Such sins are in agreement with the enemy’s nature, character, and how he operates. So when we engage in these forms of accusation, we may grant the enemy a certain degree of influence or a spiritual stronghold in someone’s life – and in our lives as well. Doing the enemy’s bidding compromises our own spiritual integrity. (A stronghold is like a little outpost that the enemy has dug into your spiritual life, which grants him the ability to hide here so he can hurt you and hinder your spiritual life).
When we are victims of false gossip, accusation, slander, or curses, then the pain is compounded by its effects in the spiritual realm. It leads to spiritual hindrances in our lives. It is a form of spiritual attack from the enemy, so we must take up our spiritual armor and overcome its ill effects in our lives. But praise be to God, for our accuser has been hurled down, defeated at the cross, and we are given the power to overcome; God’s word promises us the power through Christ to overcome. We can pray for God to cover us with the blood of Jesus, and to drive out all spiritual strongholds of the enemy:
“For the accuser of our brothers and sisters, who accuses them before our God day and night, has been hurled down. They triumphed over him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony.” [Rev. 12:10-11]“You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.” [1 John 4:4]“And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell will not overcome it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.” [Mt. 16:18-19]
Jesus has given us the authority to bind the enemy – his strongholds, his bondage, and his power. We can pray in Jesus’ name for all forms of spiritual darkness to be bound up, broken down, and destroyed. And we can pray to loosen or release God’s power against all strongholds and effects of the enemy. We can release God’s healing power on our lives to heal the hurts of accusations and attacks that others have afflicted on us. If you have been hurt by such spiritual and verbal attacks, please pray through these steps, and if necessary, please seek prayer support from a mature believer, a prayer team member, or a pastor.
First, we need to repent of any verbal and spiritual attacks that we have brought upon others. Praying in Jesus’ name and power, we bind those attacks and pray for anyone we might have hurt. After dealing with our sins against others, we can deal with the effects of others’ sins on us [“And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.” Mt. 6:12]. In dealing with spiritual hindrances and attacks on us, we first have to forgive those who have hurt us, before we can move on to finding deliverance from our spiritual bondage. [“Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.” Eph. 4:31-32] (Please listen to Pastor Eddie’s important sermon on this from 24 April 2011.)
When we struggle with this, our main concern might be our reputation and honor, our desire for vindication, or our desire for punishment on those who hurt us. But actually, this can distract us, and keep us in self-pity or bitterness. The best way to neutralize these problems is to simply pray against their effects in the spiritual realm, and leave everything else up to God, trusting that he will take care of us, protect us, and work His justice in His way. And finally, we pray for those who have hurt us [Rom. 12:14-21].
God, may you release your power in the lives of all those reading this. May you speak your word into each person’s life, and let them experience your healing and spiritual deliverance, as only you, Lord, can do. Holy Spirit, come and release your children from bondage, and fill them with your power and your live. Turn your children into ministers of your blessing, so they can proclaim you healing to the world.
God’s word is powerful, and when we pray these verses of spiritual warfare into our lives, God’s word will shake and topple down strongholds. Jesus Christ will restore you and bring you the peace and rescue that you so desperately crave. God loves us so, and wants us to be free – free to enjoy His love and His presence, without distractions of the enemy in our lives.
[Originally published in Onnuri English Ministry church newsletter, summer 2011.]