Gossip is often the underpinning poison that rips apart some of the closest friendships, business partners, and even churches. There is something insidiously delicious to our humanness that desires to know something more about another person whether it is true or not. I have seen this reality in my own heart far too often. Here are three truths about gossip and then a biblical response to gossip.
Gossip Doesn’t Stop With You
What we say about someone else will end up being repeated and furthered down the road whether we intend it to continue or not. You and I may be the originators of the gossip, but rest assured that gossip will do its best to run rampant and often does more damage with more people than we intend. Just because we had to “get it off your chest” does not mean that it needed to be said.
Gossip Is Out to Destroy
While it seems that we are only sharing the truth, that “truth” is masked and pointed with deadly poison at that person’s reputation and integrity. There is no other reason to whisper each time that person leaves the room other than the fact that we want to see them damaged in the end. Gossip is not about spreading the truth and seeing people grow, but about hurting people and helping our own causes at their expense.
Gossip Is Cowardly
If you or I need to confront or talk to someone then the proper way is to take them aside and talk with them one on one about that specific issue (see Matt 18:15-17). Iron does sharpen iron, but those that use their words to isolate and belittle another person is cowardly at best. Gossip hides with its friends and stays close to the shadows. Gossip masks itself as truth, but does not want to be exposed to reality. It cowers behind popular opinion and seeks power in numbers. Gossip cannot stand on its own, and will capitulate to the latest and greatest rumor.
A Biblical View of Gossip
The Bible uses extreme terms for how believers are to speak about other people. Our brother James says, “Do not speak evil against one another, brothers. The one who speaks against a brother or judges his brother, speaks evil against the law and judges the law. But if you judge the law, you are not a doer of the law but a judge. There is only one lawgiver and judge, he who is able to save and to destroy. But who are you to judge your neighbor? (James 4:11-12 ESV).
James also says, “With [our tongues] we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse people who are made in the likeness of God. From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brothers, these things ought not to be so. (James 3:9-10 ESV).
Gossip is a hateful sin to our God. There is no room for this hypocritical back-biting in the life of a Christian. James shows that a spring that has a good source will produce good water. The source for our words, Jesus teaches, is our heart (Matt 12:36; cf. Prov 4:23). If you and I struggle with the sin of gossip it is a heart issue that must be confessed and forsaken. When we engage in gossip we unseat the good and righteous God and put ourselves as a secret and destructive judge. Let us put off the sin of gossip and allow our hearts to be changed so that we may speak truth in love (even hard truths to the unlovely.)
Article by: Caleb Nedimyer