Not many things can destroy relationships as fast or hurt people as much as gossip. Yet, we’ve all been guilty of doing it, and we’ve all been on the receiving end of it. It’s a terrible tool the enemy uses in our lives, families, and churches to bring disunity and destruction.
A gossip is a person who typically does one of two things. They are the ones who reveal secrets or is a scandalmonger.
The gossip who reveals secrets will often start their conversation seeming innocent enough but really with evil intent. For example, they might say, “did you hear” or “please don’t tell anyone, but I heard.” The information they share might be true, but they have no business sharing it. And they are most likely breaking a friend’s trust or repeating what they heard from someone else and progressing the rumor.
The scandalmonger will often start a conversation about another person with their opinion. They often use words like “do you know what I think” and insert their ideas into someone else’s character or actions. Most often, this person has no clue what they are talking about and are making stuff up that has no business being said.
Both gossips cause great hurt in people’s lives. On the one hand, you have true things being said that should have remained private. But, on the other hand, you have something being spread about someone that isn’t even remotely true.
The problem with gossip is that people can have an attitude that says it’s not that big of a deal. For example, you might say, “I’m just talking with friends.”
For us to get a real understanding of how seriously God takes gossip, let’s look at the group of sins, he lists it with.
He says wicked people “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; they have no understanding, no fidelity, no love, no mercy. Although they know God’s righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them.” (Romans 1:29-32)
Now you might not be a God-hater, but the Bible says that when you gossip, you’re acting like one. And that’s serious business.
We need to watch our tongue as James warned us when he said, “The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole body, sets the whole course of one’s life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell.” (James 3:6)
I know these are hard-hitting verses, but this is nothing to mess around with. It can cause much hurt in people’s lives.
Instead of being a gossip, take the stand of Ephesians 4:29. Which says, “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.”
It’s not just a good principle to live by; it’s a godly standard. As Proverbs 21:23 says, “Watch your tongue and keep your mouth shut, and you will stay out of trouble.”