If a person doesn’t admit they gossip, well then, they’re probably lying. 😂 No, really, gossip is masked as so many things, even trying to justify actions by saying it’s merely “venting”. Sometimes, even masking it as a prayer request. (Help us, Jesus!)
Now, don’t get me wrong: we need trusted others to talk to about the nuts and bolts of life, people with whom we can share the good, the bad, and even the ugly. I have a small handful of these people in my life. They are my truth-tellers. But that’s just it: They love me enough to tell me the truth. These trusted ones will kick me in the pants and set me straight whenever I’m out of line.
And speaking of lines, there’s a fine line—a very fine line—between sharing with a truth-teller for accountability and just flat-out gossiping. But the reality is however you package it or dress it up, gossiping is wrong, especially amongst brothers and sisters in Christ.
So, what exactly is gossip? Well, gossip can be described and/or defined in many ways, but here are a few:
RUMOR: any unverified information.
SLANDER: false or malicious information with the intent to harm.
GOSSIP: sensational talk passed on because of it’s “juicy” nature, whether true, rumor, or slander.
Gossip is not a singular action. For you see, gossip is not gossip without someone to speak it and another to listen to it. As such, the person who listens to it is just as guilty as the one who is doing it. And lemme tell ya: gossip is serious business. It shuts down trust between people (friends, co-workers, family members, even Sunday-go-to-meetin’ Christians). Gossip is not just a bad habit; it is a prideful sin.
So what might the Bible have to say to us about it? Well, as it happens, I looked up a few passages:
You shall not bear a false report; do not join your hand with a wicked man to be a malicious witness.—Exodus 23:1
If those who claim devotion to God don’t control what they say, they mislead themselves. Their devotion is worthless.—James 1:26
Brothers and sisters, don’t say evil things about each other. Whoever insults or criticizes a brother or sister insults and criticizes the Law. If you find fault with the Law, you are not a doer of the Law but a judge over it.—James 4:11
Lying lips conceal hate, and those who spread slander are fools.—Proverbs 10:18
A slanderer walks around revealing secrets, but a trustworthy person keeps a confidence.—Proverbs 11:13
Destructive people produce conflict; gossips alienate close friends.—Proverbs 16:28
Without wood a fire goes out; without gossips, conflict calms down.—Proverbs 26:20
Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, so that it will give grace to those who hear.—Ephesians 4:29
So what does one do? Well, as Christ-followers, we need to recognize that gossip is contrary to the Gospel; it doesn’t promote unity; and it must cease.