You’ve no doubt experienced the humiliation of catching others trading hurtful glances and whispering something negative about you or someone you love. Uncomfortable at minimum and crushing on the other end, that scenario prompts me to ponder a couple of questions:
- How much gossiping do you suppose is going on in heaven right now?
- If gossip is ARROGANT and FOOLISH, why do believers so easily succumb to what God deems FORBIDDEN? (Proverbs 17:4–5).
Chatter whispered behind closed doors that we would never dare utter out loud is a sinful response to our insecurities. It rarely comes in the form of brazen falsification. It emanates from the hubris of thinking we somehow have God’s green light to talk about people through innuendo and deceit.
When Christians gossip, they participate in an act of betrayal. Judging someone is easier that showing mercy. It’s easier to detach from a person and “point a finger” through gossip than it is to lovingly stride with them by their side across life’s rocky terrain.
To refrain from gossip is not a “rule of courtesy or civility.” It is what God COMMANDS.
Even the sturdiest faith will be tested by what I call the “temptation of the tongue.” That’s why I developed this 10-point “SHOULD I SAY IT” test:
- Have I EXCUSED my gossip by saying “let’s pray for _____’s problem or slip or challenge”?
- Am I using TRUTH as a defense to gossip?
- Will I REVEAL the person in the story or shield their identity?
- Do I ENJOY sharing this information?
- Would I tell the story if the person in it was PRESENT?
- Am I CONCEALING this conversation from anyone?
- Would I want others to talk about ME in a similar manner?
- Have I been talking to GOD about this before speaking aloud?
- Is there any personal VENTING in my words about others?
- Have I remembered that God will JUDGE every word I speak?
We are accountable for all of our words, NOT just those that are delivered with malice.
“…everyone will have to give account on the day of judgment for every empty word they have spoken.” Matthew 12:36
The good news? God gives us the power to avoid gossip if we call on him for help:
“…God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear…” 1 Corinthians 10:13
I ask God to remind me that gossip is produced by the father of LIES. To guide me toward a gossip-free life that can only come from him—the Father of TRUTH. To help me fight off the urge to gossip and slander.
WHAT ABOUT YOU?
What will you do the next time your tongue is tempted to gossip?
“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.” Ephesians 4:29
“A perverse person stirs up conflict, and a gossip separates close friends.” Proverbs 16:28
“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.” James 4:11