It topples governments,
causes heartaches, nightmares, indigestion,
spawns suspicion, generates grief,
dispatches innocent people to cry in their pillows.
Even its name hisses.
Do you know what is it?
It’s called gossip.
Office gossip, Shop gossip. Party gossip.
It makes headlines and headaches.
Before you repeat a story ask yourself:
Is it True? Is it fair? Is it necessary? If not, SHUT UP!
This piece is by an unnamed author and our post today is in response a reader’s request. So here it goes.
WHAT IS GOSSIP?
1. Whispering. It’s listed among sins in Romans 1:29. Literarily it means to “speak into one’s ear. Whispering is to secretly slander. It is called “talebearing” in the Old Testament (Lev 19:2. Adam Clarke says, “A talebearer is an informer, a peddler of gossip, a tattler, a revealer of secrets, a newsmonger, one who hunts secrets whether true or false, to broadcast, a slander. He is the walking busybody, the trader in scandal.
2. Backbiting. This means to “speak against” Rom 1:30. Basically the backbiter is the same as the whisperer, except this is done openly, while the whisperer operates in secret.
3. Slander. Paul told the older women to teach younger women not to be slanderers (Titus 2:3). To slander is to “To accuse falsely.” To spread innuendoes and criticisms of others. Interestingly the word “Diabolos” is the same word translated “Devil.” He is called the slanderer of the brethren. Don Hastings once wrote “People who slander and gossip and like slithering snakes carrying a sac of poison, ready and eager to striker and inject their poison.”
Consider these observations: Gossip can involve an untruth, a false accusation. Or it can involve evil surmising and jumping to conclusions. Something may be true, yet spread to defame and harm another’s reputation by digging up something out of one’s past and spreading it around. Or a bad connotation placed on something that is perfectly right and proper. All of this is gossip.
Why Do People Gossip?
1. Idleness (1 Tim. 5:13). Some folks have too much time and too little to do! Two old proverbs come to mind. “There are no idle rumors, they’re always busy. But there are idle people.” “An idle mind is the devil’s workshop.” Keep busy with your work. Stay focused on God’s will for you. And there will be no time for gossip.
2. Hatred (Ps. 109.2-3). Some folks just have a spirit of ill will. The desire to ruin someone is more than enough to fuel the fires of gossip. In the Mountain Message Jesus said he who hates is a murderer. And in a real sense the gossiper is a character assassin. Fill your heart with love, remove hatred and chances of gossip will diminish.
3. Desire to Judge Others (Jas. 4:11-12). There is a human tendency to judge others according to our likes and dislikes, our opinions, tastes and feelings. But our judging is wrong on two counts. It is a breach of the royal law. And it is an infringement of the prerogative of God.
4. There is a Carnal Delight in it. (Prov. 2:14). Gossip appeals to the fleshly, sensual, and worldly part of human appetites. There are few activities in which the average person finds more delight that spicy gossip; to tell and to listen to the slanderous story, especially about some distinguished person. To overcome this desire work to produce the fruit of the Spirit.
5. Because of an Evil Heart (Lk. 6:45). Vicious gossip, talebearing, whispering and backbiting and all manner of evil speaking shows the attitude of the person’s heart involved. The wise man wrote, “An ungodly man digs up evil, and it is on his lips like a burning fire” (Prov. 16:27). Allow God to cleanse your heart and fill it with things that are good. Pure. True. Honorable. And Just.
The verdict is in. Gossip is a sin! There can be no question about it. It’s a sin by definition. It’s nature is sinful. And the very reasons behind it are sinful. Gossip hurts others. Harms the gossiper. And is an enemy of Truth. The Bible says “Death and life are in the power of the tongue.” ( Prov. 18:1)
Gossip? It’s the snake that poisons.
–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman