We were in Michigan this weekend to perform the wedding for the daughter of the very first couple I married 25 years ago. It was a Saturday night wedding and reception. We got up very early Sunday morning to drive back to Nebraska. On our way we listened to several preachers on local radio stations that we passed. Outside of Chicago we picked up the Moody Channel and heard Paul Nyquist’s message. Paul, the President of Moody, used to be the pastor of Evangelical Bible Church in Omaha. He said something that I just had to remember. I don’t believe it was original with him, but it struck me. I’ll paraphrase it here: “Great people talk about ideas. Good people talk about things. The vast majority of others talk about people.”

I spoke yesterday in my devotion of the “schemes” of the Devil and focused on his scheme dealing with unforgiveness. This was clearly identified as such in 2 Corinthians. Another “method” of Satan in his arsenal of weapons of Spiritual warfare is gossip. When Peter spoke to Jesus about not going to Jerusalem to accomplish His purpose, Jesus replied, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a hindrance to me. For you are not setting your mind on the things of God, but on the things of man,” (Matthew 16:23). It is of greater value to set our minds on “ideas” or principles of God and right living than to set our minds on the lives of others: celebrities, politicians, or even our neighbors. It’s a much greater endeavor to think about and wrestle with and discuss the things of God.

According to Proverbs, “The words of a gossip are like choice morsels; they go down to a man’s inmost parts” (Prov. 18:8). But no matter how tasty it is, gossip is still a concoction of Satan and poison to our souls. Philip Ryken writes, “As wrong as it is to gossip, it is just as wrong to listen to gossip.” He proceeds to quote an “old rabbinic saying, “slander kills three: the one who speaks it, the one who listens to it, and the one about whom it is spoken.” He continues his discussion by quoting the Puritan Thomas Watson. He said, “He that raises a slander, carries the devil in his tongue; and he that receives it, carries the devil in his ear.” Ryken then concludes his views by saying, “Watson was right: Whenever we listen to gossip, we become implicated in its sin. We get drawn into making judgments about others when it is not our place to judge. The problem is that most of us like to hear a little gossip. We have an appetite for it, especially if it’s juicy.” But we are not unaware of his schemes!