Gossip: talking about someone else. Simple as that in my opinion.
It is so easy to talk about other people. Especially when you are talking about people who are not present. Even better is when they will see your Facebook status later, and even though you didn’t say their name, they know you directed the statement to them. The best part is when they overreact to your post! Then you can even call them names for thinking the post was about them…even though it really was. Fun!!
It is also so easy to listen to some juicy details about someone else’s life. It’s even better to hear about things that are going wrong in someone else’s life, then of course your life doesn’t sound quite as bad. Hearing these things goes deep into your heart, deceiving your heart. If there are people “worse” than you, then you don’t have to work on your own life…right? If you talk ABOUT someone else, rather than TO them, you’ll solve “their” issues…right?
God gives us some good guidelines to follow when speaking of others in the book of Proverbs.
1. Don’t spread gossip about friends, it is better to conceal their offense. Perhaps you should talk to them in private instead of airing their dirty laundry to others or on social media sites. If you truly are friends with someone you’ll be more interested in actually helping them.
–Proverbs 17:9. Whoever conceals an offense promotes love, but whoever gossips about it separates friends.
2. When speaking about others, less is more. You are less likely to be spreading gossip the less you say about someone. Even if it is unintentional, you may be slandering your friends.
–Proverbs 10:19. Where there are many words, sin is unavoidable, but the one who controls his lips is wise.
3. Not talking about others will get rid of drama in your life. Are you always finding arguing, drama, and quibbling in your life? Gossip is the problem.
–Proverbs 26:20. Without wood, fire goes out; without gossip, conflict dies down.
4. Listening to gossip is also wrong, and can affect you more than you think. If someone is telling you things that you are not involved in, cannot help with, or is just bashing someone else…you are listening to gossip. Stop them. If they cannot keep their mouth shut…then it is time to avoid that individual for your own safety.
–Proverbs 18:8. A gossips words are like choice food that goes down to ones innermost being.
–Proverbs 20:19. The one who reveals secrets is a constant gossip; avoid someone with a big mouth.
God teaches us that we should only be speaking as much as necessary, leave out the rest. The more and more you talk, it is inevitable that you are going to gossip and sin. This applies to talking, and to listening to others talk. If you are enjoying listening to someone else gossip, you are just a guilty as the one speaking. When you gossip, you inevitably are hurting the person that you are talking about. No good will come of this. In the end, gossip can be the end of friendships, relationships, families, jobs, and churches. Gossip promotes separation, Jesus promotes coming together. Gossip promotes judging of one another, Jesus promotes looking into your heart first.
Next time you are aware that someone has misstepped, messed up, said something wrong, etc, provide them some forgiveness and grace…no need to tell anyone else. Obviously, if someone is in danger or other extenuating circumstances, this is not gossip. We should be helping our fellow believers, not talking about them behind their backs. If you are listening to someone gossip, it’s a good time to stop them in mid sentence and let them know that you are gossiping. We are told to avoid those with a big mouth, so those who don’t learn to keep their mouths shut, you may need to get rid of.
Many times you can be gossiping and not even be aware, unfortunately that’s how common it has become. Have some friends help keep you accountable of what you are talking about.
Lets help each other out with this, stop tearing each other down and start encouraging each other! God wants us to work together for His purpose and His glory.