After the flood, Noah was drunk in his tent and naked. His son Ham saw him and went and told his brothers. Genesis 9:23 says, “But Shem and Japheth took a garment, laid it on both of their shoulders, and went backward and covered the nakedness of their father…”
Ham exposed his father’s sin, but Shem and Japheth covered it. Noah knew that his younger son had dishonored him. As a result, Ham’s son Canaan was cursed.
1 Peter 4:8 says, “And above all things have fervent love for one another, for love will cover a multitude of sins.” Proverbs 10:12 says, “Hatred stirs up strife, but love covers all sins.”
There is power in walking backwards when another’s sin is exposed through gossip. Two things can happen. One, we tell another and the gossip continues. Two, we can take up an offense against the gossiper and the one gossiped about.
There is an arresting verse in Ecclesiastes 10:1 that says, “Dead flies putrefy the perfumer’s ointment, and cause it to give off a foul odor; so does a little folly to one respected for wisdom and honor.”
Received gossip lodges in the secret places of our heart. In an unguarded moment, it can slip into our conversation. If you have heard gossip, it is of utmost importance to ask the Lord to cleanse it from your mind. Don’t dialogue about it, and don’t tell anyone else. If it isn’t dealt with immediately, it can become an inner defilement, like the dead fly in the perfume.
Ham dishonored his father by gossiping to his brothers. Shem and Japheth immediately acted to block their brother’s gossip. Gossip must be nipped in the bud or it will defile and destroy relationships.