Have you heard?
Please don’t repeat this to anyone.
Let’s just keep this between you and me, shall we?
I’ve said each of these phrases before. At times, they have been perfectly acceptable. And yes, other times I’ve said them to my shame. Gossip is an ugly sin. It breaks hearts, hurts marriages, ruins friendship, ends careers, destroys ministries, generates grief, and tarnish reputations. It is no respecter of persons and the more it’s repeated the more it’s believed.
If you’ve ever been hurt by gossiping words, you understand how painful it can be. And, if you’ve ever been gossiped to, be prepared to be gossiped about. That’s the nature of this beast.
The scriptures warn us about the use of our tongues.
- Whoso keepeth his mouth and his tongue keepeth his soul from troubles. (Pro 21:23)
- In the multitude of words there wanteth not sin: but he that refraineth his lips is wise. (Pro 10:19)
- A talebearer revealeth secrets: but he that is of a faithful spirit concealeth the matter. (Pro 11:13)
- If any man among you seem to be religious, and bridleth not his tongue, but deceiveth his own heart, this man’s religion is vain. (Jas 1:26)
- But the tongue can no man tame; it is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison. (Jas 3:8)
The more we talk, the more we risk sinning with our words. That is why the Bible speaks of wisdom through silence. But, I like to talk. I especially like to get together with my friends to visit, share stories, communicate and bond through our words. So, where does talking cross the line and become gossip?
I’m glad you asked.
When you share privileged information with others, it is gossip. Simply put, some information is private and not intended for everyone to hear. If the information is not yours to share, don’t share it.
When you repeat negative rumors about others, it is gossip. This line of gossip is often accompanied with the intent of tearing others down to build others up. It’s the nastiest form of gossip.
When a negative is discussed with anyone who cannot solve the problem, it is gossip. Sometimes negative information must be shared. If you are in leadership or ministry of any sort this is especially true. However, when you share negatives with people who have no authority to intervene or offer valuable insight into the issue, it becomes nothing short of gossip.
The list is not inclusive, but it’s a good start. David prayed, “Set a watch, O LORD, before my mouth; keep the door of my lips,” Psalms 141:3. Christian friend, let this be our prayer!
Have you personally seen the negative effects of gossip? Leave a comment and share your thoughts.