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Genesis 3:1-6 teaches us that Satan was the most subtle beast of the field, but Proverbs 7 teaches us about another one who is subtle:

Proverbs 7:10 (KJV) And, behold, there met him a woman with the attire of an harlot, and subtle of heart.

With the subtle of heart in mind, think about the gossip for a moment.  Granted, she may not dress like a prostitute, but here heart is just as perverse and she is just as much a devil. In the past, we have discussed how the gossip is at the top of God’s most despised Proverbs 6:1 teaches us that those who are liars, who are proud, who have hearts full of mischief, whose hearts devise wicked imaginations. Still, there is another aspect to the gossip.  Like the harlot, the gossip is subtle in many ways: she disguises herself as something she isn’t, she is subtle in how she gathers her information, she is clever in how she spreads her information and she does not care who she hurts – even if she damages the cause of Christ.

First, the harlot disguises herself as something she isn’t The harlot on the average street corner doesn’t reveal her true identity. Her attire, her makeup, her hair, her demeanor all disguise her. Today, there are many men who go so far as to masquerade as women to play the role of a harlot. Likewise, the gossip does nor reveal her true identity.  In a congregation of believers, she uses the right language.  She may dress modestly (or, she may be so ugly that she just wants to cover up). She even claims to be a Christian but her lying heart reveals God is not her father and Jesus is not her role model. As she is a liar, so is her father:

John 8:44 (KJV) Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.

Second, the gossip is subtle in how she gathers most of her information. Remember, she is a liar at heart and it is through her lies that she gathers her information. She may approach you claiming to be your friend. She may see a burdened look on your face and offer to help.  Like the harlot, she uses clever words, flowery language and a chameleon’s tongue to weave her way into your life and into your trust.  Despite her claims, she is not interested in your well-being.  Her interests are her own.  What she can do to make herself look better.

Before his fall, Satan was considered an angel of light.  Many people believe that, before he fell, Satan was a magnificent creature to behold.  They believe that Satan’s appearance was not what we think of today as a red-devil with horns and a pitch fork.  Rather, before he fell, most Bible scholars believe Satan was beautiful and radiant beyond our comprehension. Likewise, many people believe that Satan’s appearance, today, is beautiful, as well.  We want to believe that Satan would appear as a monster. In reality, Satan’s appearance would be quite attractive. Likewise, the gossip adorns herself in the robes of Godliness.  She is a master of disguises. When you see her in a congregation, you cannot pick her out from God’s people. If you search the church membership roles, you will find her name. By being clever in how she blends in with the believers, she develops a trust with the believers. Believers who do not know her, begin to believe that she is a believer. She gains trust, her words gain validity and she lies herself into the hearts and lives of the believers.

Finally, like her father, the Devil, the Gossip does not care who she hurts. You have to remember that Satan is not interested in souls being saved.  Satan was your soul eternally condemned and burning in hell.  The only way Satan can claim a win is by stealing a soul from God. The next best thing to keeping a soul in hell is keeping a child of God living in defeat.  For everything Satan does, these really are his only two goals.  The gossip is nothing more than a puppet whose strings are being pulled by her father. What you will find is that no matter how nice her words are, how pleasing her compliments are, how encouraging her words may seem, they are lies.  They are not the fruit of a Godly heart, but the deception of the devil. Remember Genesis 3. When Satan deceived Eve, he used the very words of God. Yes, they were not exactly God’s words, but they were close enough to be deceptive.

We see many ways the gossip is like a harlot. But, ultimately, the gossip is most like the harlot in how she sells herself for pleasure.  Her currency isn’t money, her currency is friendships and trust.  The pleasure is her own. Like the unrepentant streetwalker, the harlot needs to be marked and avoided.