In the last days, men will be… malicious gossips …
—2 Timothy 3:3
As the day draws near, there are warnings of deception, wars, famines etc.; along with all those we are told malicious gossip will abound in the last days.
Most men will seek malign others and draw men to themselves. The devil will poison men with his nature of accusation and slander (Greek word diablos which also translates to slanderer). Many church splits we see is because there are those who want a following after themselves (Acts 20:30) and so they malign others to fulfill that lust (3 John 1:9, 10). Let us be on guard not to infected with this poison.
The devil and his demons do not have a physician body so they seek to find a person’s tongue that they can use. Let us instead yield our tongues to Holy Spirit to have a word of prophecy. Interesting how the tongue can be set on fire either from hell (James 3:6) or the fire of the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:3).
When two children are quarreling and one child tells the parent about other child’s wrong. We do not say that the child was gossiping about the other. The matter is being shared with the one who has authority in the situation to bring resolution.
Similarly, we see that the family of Chloe shared what was happening in the church of Corinth with the apostle Paul. That was the correct thing to do to get help in the situation from one with authority. (1 Cor. 1:11).
We see the apostles call out by name those who were wicked, sharing specific details of why they needed to be careful of them (apostle Paul called out Hymenaeus and Alexander for their blasphemy (1 Tim. 1:20) and apostle John called out Diotrephes who loves to be first and his false accusations (3 John 1:9-10)
Jesus also shared about the one who would betray Him but that was not gossip but rather a warning for the other disciples. (John 13:26)
God has given those in authority the responsibility and grace to share with us on sensitive matters of church discipline, administration etc. Sadly, there are those in churches who are not content and seek to spread that discontentment to others. Let us not be among those who have that spirit of slander against the church but rather be quick to get clarity on any matter directly from the elders that the Lord has placed in authority in the church.
There are times when those in authority will tell us it is none of our business. We see that example in Jesus. When Peter was interested in John’s future, if he would go through similar sufferings that he would have. Jesus didn't tell Peter any details but rather told Peter to focus his efforts on following Him. (John 21:20-22)
I know there is the potential in me (and each one of us) to seek our own, being offended and becoming a slanderer. Let us take heed, lest we fall (1 Cor. 10:12). May the Lord preserve us in these last days (Jude 1:24).