What is it about gossip that flourishes so well in the most unexpected of places? It doesn’t just happen around the water cooler at work; it happens in churches all across America, and it’s destructive.
Could Google’s 72.6 million entries to the single-word search term “gossip” provide an answer?
Or maybe God’s word has an even better answer.
- “The words of a gossip are like choice morsels; they go down to a man’s inmost parts.” Proverbs 18:8 NLT
Simply put, gossip is the verbal reduction of someone else’s value as a person. And since we’re all created in God’s image, I would strongly argue that this makes gossip a sin. The Bible sure has plenty to say about the subject. I like the Apostle Paul’s words in Ephesians 4:29 on the subject of encouragement:
- “Don’t use foul or abusive language. Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them.”
Put another way, don’t curse and don’t tear people down verbally.
Gossip doesn’t have to be preceded by the phrase “did you hear what Helen did?” It can sometimes be couched in more spiritual tones such as “I think we should pray for Helen,” followed by a 10-minute dissertation that slanders Helen instead of building her up by presenting her before God through prayer.
Consider how gossip impacts relationships.
- “A gossip betrays a confidence, but a trustworthy man keeps a secret.” Proverbs 11:13 NLT
- “A perverse man stirs up dissension, and a gossip separates close friends.” Proverbs 16:28 NLT
God tells us what the costs are to those who engage in such behavior.
- “A gossip betrays a confidence; so avoid a man who talks too much,” Proverbs 20:19 NLT.
So what is our response? Consider God’s word again:
- “Without wood a fire goes out; without gossip a quarrel dies down.” Proverbs 26:20 NLT
In other words, don’t do it!
It would seem that God has a pretty strong opinion of gossip if He included it in the following list of sins.
- “They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. They are gossips, slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful; they invent ways of doing evil; they disobey their parents;” Romans 1:29-30 NLT (emphasis added).
Is that a list of terms about you that you’d like read at your funeral?
God’s admonition to us is simple and, it falls into one of the two big commands that Jesus gave his followers shortly before his crucifixion: “…love your neighbor as yourself.”
Here are a few other verses to ponder:
- 1 Peter 2:12
- 2 Corinthians 12:20
- 1 Timothy 5:13
3 John 1:10