From Paul Tautges (summarising part of Resisting Gossip, by Matt Mitchell):
#1: The Spy – In Proverbs 11:13, the Hebrew word translated “gossip” means “‘a peddler (of secrets), a huckster/hawker, deceiver, or spy.’ The English Standard Version uses the phrase ‘whoever goes about slandering’….We might use the word ‘informer’….Spies know how to wheedle a story out of us.”
#2: The Grumbler – Another Hebrew word commonly translated “gossip” refers to a whisperer. The Hebrew dictionaries say that this “is one who is ‘murmuring about another person behind their back rather than openly complaining about their behavior.’”
#3: The Backstabber – “Backstabbing gossip overflows from a heart bent on revenge, retaliation and real malice.…
[Asked to preach twice on the same day from James 4:4-17, I developed two sermons, the first focussing on what this passage teaches about pride in relation to talking (verses 11-12), and the second on pride in relation to planning (verses 13-17).]
Overall theme of this section: arrogance.
Specific danger areas: talking (v11-12), planning (vv13-17), spending (5:1-6).
Let’s focus on the first of these. James has yet more to say about the tongue, and so must we.…
What constitutes crooked speech? It is talk that isn’t straight, of course. It is bowed, off-kilter, circuitous, meandering. There are a few examples we could cite.
Telling lies about ourselves or others is breaking covenant. Even if we’re just “stretching” the truth or “bending” the truth, entertaining distortions or investing in stereotypes, we cut a line unfit to build relationships or reputations of integrity with. You can’t be square with God and neighbor if all your lumber’s warped.…
1. “I feel so sorry for you.” Don’t say it with words. Don’t even say it with your eyes. Or with your hand (by patting the patient on the thigh). Who wants to be made to feel like an object of pity; a helpless victim? What you must say is, “”I so wish you didn’t have to go through this ghastly time.”