Rev. Margaret Minnicks is an ordained Bible teacher. She writes many articles that are Bible lessons.
Gossip is talking unnecessarily about the personal business or private affairs of others including one's own family and friends. Most of the time gossip is a rumor that could ruin someone's reputation. The intent of gossip is to make someone look bad.
People are hurt by gossip, but that doesn't stop others from indulging in it. A study reveals that about 80 percent of some people's conversations involve gossip. Most telephone calls among friends include some amount of gossip about others that they know.
If you take the gossip out of some people's conversation, there would not be much content left.
Gossip Is a Sin
Christianity is not the only religion that forbids gossip. Many of the world's major religions consider gossip to be a sin. It might be called by other names such as evil tongue, backbiting, or tattling. However, any talk that deliberately demeans someone is sinful.
Gossip is negative talk that has an effect on the person who engages in it and the person who listens to it. Sometimes gossip can be dangerous and harmful. When people gossip about others, they create a gap between themselves and God. They block their own blessings. How can God bless a person who tries to bring others down?
The Bible has many scriptures that warn against gossip.
- Proverbs 18:8 - "The words of a gossip are like choice morsels: they go down to a man's innermost parts."
- Proverbs 26:23 - "Like a coating of glaze over earthenware are fervent lips with an evil heart."
- Romans 1:29 - "They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, and malice. They are gossipers."
- 1 Timothy 5:13 - "And besides, they learn to be idle, wandering about from house to house, and not only idle but also gossips and busybodies."
Which Is Worse: Gossiping or Listening To It?
You might think the person who speaks and spreads gossip is worse than the person who listens to it. You might be surprised to know that according to the Book of Leviticus, the person who listens to gossip is worse than the person who tells it.
Spreading gossip and listening to it are both forbidden by scriptures. Listening to gossip does the most harm because it would be stopped if no one heard it. Power is given to gossip when people listen. It would die out if no one listened to gossip.
Gossip essentially kills three people.
- The person who speaks it
- The person who listens to it
- The person about whom it is told
Don't let others pull you into their gossip. You can stop people from gossiping to you by refusing to listen to it. If no one listens, the gossip will stop.
Stop destroying people's reputation by spreading gossip with your mouth and listening to it with your ears.
Spreading gossip is like opening a pillow full of feathers on a windy day at the top of a tall mountain. The feathers will blow away. Once words are out of your mouth, they are like feathers on a windy day.
You will never be able to find all of them and put them back into the pillow. Neither will you be able to retrieve all the words you have said about someone. As soon as negative words are spoken, they become like feathers in the wind.
Reasons People Gossip
People gossip for several reasons.
- Some gossipers get a thrill when they reveal secrets they have been told.
- It makes some people feel important when they divulge confidential information about others.
- Many people actually love reporting misfortunes and bad news about others.
Social media has made it possible for people to gossip more than they used to do. They can post anonymously online while hiding behind their keyboard.
Gossip doesn't benefit anyone. If you are the one who gossips to others, take the temptation away. Refrain from talking to people who gossip so you won't be tempted to do the same. When they ask you why you don't call as often as you used to, then be honest and tell them that you are fasting from gossiping.
Don't engage in gossip when people share intimate or confidential news with you.
Stop gossip in its track by doing two things:
- Don't gossip.
- Don't listen to gossip.