Drippings from the Honeycomb
More to be desired are [the rules of the Lord] than gold, even much fine gold; sweeter also than honey and drippings of the honeycomb. (Psalm 19:10)
What is the difference between these two sins?
A variety of Greek words are rendered in English translations as gossip or slander. Two examples can both be conveniently found in one location: 2 Cor 12:20:
“For I fear that perhaps when I come I may find you not as I wish, and that you may find me not as you wish—that perhaps there may be quarrelling, jealousy, anger, hostility, slander, gossip, conceit, and disorder.”
Slander: to speak down to in a hostile way, to speak evil, defaming talk (here); or abusive language, slow in calling good good, litt. blasphemy (here). To make a false or damaging statement about someone. If from the pulpit I spoke militantly and poorly of someone then that is slander.
Gossip: secret whisperings (like a snake charmer) (here); or sometimes foolish talk (literally bubbling talk (here). Sharing casual or unconstrained reports about someone, without their consent, which may or may not be confirmed as true. If in my visitation I shared titbits about someone that was private knowledge that would be gossip.
Both may be true or false, however, slander tends to be more open/public whereas gossip tends to be private/covert. Hence why they are easily confused.
Each sin flows from our heart, or our nature (Mt 15:19); and speech sin is no small matter for through it our world is set ablaze (Ja 3:6).
If we persist in our sinfulness then speech sin is included in the list of sins that will prevent us from entering heaven (1 Cor 6:10, revilers, litt. verbal abusers). This is not because of the sin itself but because persistent sin shows that the Holy Spirit does not indwell us and that means we’ve never repented of our sin and received forgiveness and the gift of eternal life.
Oh may we repent of slander and gossip and so receive forgiveness to walk in freedom and the Spirit to help us to do so.
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