Not too long ago I ran into a “friend” I hadn’t seen in a long time. We hugged and made small talk about our children. She asked me if I had heard about what another friend of ours was going through. But before I could answer, she proceeded to rapidly explode on me very personal details about my friends delicate matter. It was none of my business what she was telling me, nor was it hers. The judging that came out of her mouth stunned me. It was obvious she wasn’t telling me all of this in love for our friend and for us to pray for her...It was gossip. Plan and simple.
I walked away very grieved at the way she had spoke of our friend. It was actually sickening to me. I felt like she was just looking for an audience to slander our friend. It was gossip and it just felt wrong.
Gossip is defined as “idle talk or rumor, especially about personal or private affairs of others.” Idle is defined as “without purpose or effect” and “pointless.”
Listen to what Jesus says about “idle” talk...
“But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment. For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned.” (Matthew 12:36-37)
Wow! No justifying “idle” words now! This is serious business with God. The Bible, especially Proverbs, is full of scriptures on the warning against gossip.
“Gossips can’t keep secrets, so never confide in blabbermouths.” ~ Proverbs 20:19
“A gossip can’t be trusted with a secret, but someone of integrity won’t violate a confidence.” ~Proverbs 11:13
“He who conceals hatred has lying lips, And he who spreads slander is a fool.” ~Proverbs 10:18
A useless person causes trouble, and a gossip ruins friendships. ~Proverbs 16:28
None of us would label ourselves “a gossip,” but women in particular, can have a really challenging time with this. It’s very easy when a group of friends get together, to begin “discussing” what another person might be going through. I’ve been guilty of it too. It may not be malicious in nature, but it’s become idle talk.
Psalms 141:3 says to, “Set a guard, O LORD, over my mouth; Keep watch over the door of my lips.”
There is no point and no benefit in bringing up what others are going through. You may not think you have a problem in this area, but see if you can go all day without talking about another person. Not one word about another person. You’ll be surprised at how challenging it might be.
Recently I was asked by a friend to keep in confidence a situation she was going through and to pray for her. Shortly after that another friend asked how she was doing. The choice was mine to keep my word and be quiet or to “share” with my friend what I knew was going on. I chose to keep my mouth shut. Keeping your mouth shut when others are blabbing, shows character and integrity. I want to be known as a person of character and integrity. Don’t you?
It’s amazing to me that in Paul’s writings about those that were taken over by every kind of sin, he includes gossip!!
“They are filled with every kind of sin, evil, selfishness, and hatred. They are full of jealousy, murder, fighting, lying, and thinking the worst about each other. They gossip and say evil things about each other....” Romans 1:29-30
Gossip IS SIN! No getting around it. I encourage you to examine and check yourself on a daily basis.
I love the story my dad tells...he was with a group of ministers having lunch and one began to talk about another minister. This other minister sitting at the table, immediately shut it down and said to the man, “Since you have this guy on your mind, why don’t we just stop right now and pray for him!” Talk about stopping gossip in its tracks!
When you are with someone and they begin talking about others, take the initiative and begin to speak good things over that person. Watch how quickly the conversation will change!
Don’t we want to be all that Christ wants us to be? Full of love for others. Full of kindness. Full of long-suffering. Full of peace. I know I do. Then lets reflect all of those attributes in our speech. (See Galatians 5:22-23)
I leave you with these words of wisdom today...
“Those who are careful about what they say
keep themselves out of trouble.”