Friday, November 7, 2008


What is gossip? I have been told that if something is true it is not gossip and therefore it is okay to continue to spread. I believe that gossip is any sad or hurtful news about someone, true or not, that will hurt that person if it is continued.

Merriam Webster defines gossip as "a person who habitually reveals personal or sensational facts about others...rumor or report of an intimate nature, a chatty talk, the subject matter of gossip."

I found a topical study on Crossroads that states

"Gossip is sharing private information with those who are not part of the problem or part of the solution. When you speak things about others that
you would be ashamed to say in their presence, you are not only disobeying
God's Word (Leviticus 19:16), you are also destroying that person's
reputation in the mind of your listener.
Scripture states that the sin of gossip is not limited to
the spreading of lies alone, but also includes the improper involvement of yourself in another's personal business
(1 Timothy 5:13).
Even to participate in the act of gossip as a listener is sin
(Proverbs 20:19). By willfully listening to the one who gossips, you
sanction the destruction of the other person's reputation."

Scripture has a lot to say about gossiping.

1 Timothy 5:13 says "And withal they learn to be idle, wandering about from
house to house; and not only idle, but tattlers also and busybodies, speaking
things which they ought not."
Romans 1:28-32 says "And even as they did not like to retain God in their
knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which
are not convenient; Being filled with all unrighteousness,
fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder,
debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers, Backbiters, haters of God,
despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to
parents, Without understanding, covenantbreakers, without natural
affection, implacable, unmerciful: Who knowing the judgment of God,
that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the
same, but have pleasure in them that do them."

Victorious puts it this way: “Slander” is a word that has an interesting origin. It comes from the word “Devil.” According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, slander means “malicious talk; to spread damaging information; to defame; to speak ill of.” Is it no wonder where slander derives it’s name? Slander is the work of the Devil, and those who slander are on his team. In fact the Bible says that Satan is called the “accuser of the brethren” (Rev. 12:10)....“Gossip” is derived from the idea of “whispering.”...As we can see, gossip is a close cousin to slander, and God’s Word places both in the same cupboard as murder and other wickedness -- sins worthy of death.

Dr. Robbins from Victorious goes on to say "Let me ask, as a Christian do you occasionally slip up and commit a murder here or there? Or how about theft -- do you occasionally burglarize a home or steal things from the store? You may think this is silly to ask. Of course, a Christian lifestyle doesn’t behave that way. But how about gossip or slander? Do you engage in idle talk or rumors about others? Do you participate in bad-mouthing or spreading rumors about others? According to the Bible, which sin is less severe? Murder or gossip? I’m sure you get the message. Paul said, BOTH are sins equally worthy of death."

Sometimes we can dress gossip up as a prayer concern. I've done it before "We really need to be in prayer for Suzy, she and Bob blah, blah, blah."

Now, some of you may think I am preaching to the choir. But in reality, I am preaching as much to myself as other people. Gossip edifies no one and even if you are saying truth, it is hurtful and can be devastating.

God set up Matthew 18 so that when we have a concern we go to the person and talk it over with them. If you cannot come to agreement, God set up an action plan to take care of the problems. But what about non-Christians? They are not held to the same standard as Christians. If we, as Christians, demonstrate gossip for the world and they see us doing it, how can we expect them not to do the same?

I don't know about you but I for one do not wish to be separated from Christ Jesus by death just to make myself feel better or make me look better. I am checking my heart and my motives today and taking them before God in repentance.

I know how much gossip and slander hurt. They can rip families apart and devastate relationships. It is not enough to say "Well, everyone knows about this." or "It's public information". Public information does not equal edification.

I am currently taking a class in The Effect of Mass Media. One of my focus papers was on Agenda Setting. Agenda Setting happens all around us and you can be sure that every form of media has an agenda. It is most effective when a person does not have a preset bias or set of values to hold something to. As with mass media, we need to be aware and alert of agenda setting going on in our own neighborhood and conversations

We can ask ourselves four important questions, none more important than the last:

  1. Who wants me to know this information?
  2. Why do they want me to know this?
  3. What do they expect or want me to do with this information?
  4. What am I going to do with this information?

Jesus has an agenda too. He wants us to come to Him. He wants us to lift fallen brothers and sisters to Him alone. Please do that today. There is a battle going on all around us.


  1. This was a very timely post. I found myself guilty of this very thing yesterday. I agree that spreading news that's "public knowledge" is still gossip...I sometimes forget that until after the fact. OUCH! thank you for posting this!!

  2. Great post, Mrs. K! I get so tired of gossip and the 'facts' that don't really need to be discussed by me or anyone else. Thanks for the encouragment and reminder

  3. I appreciate your post and i am quilty and need to be reminded daily how much damage it can do. But, my question is how can we share one anothers burdens and can it be done without gossiping?

  4. Absolutely fabulous! Thanks for sharing this as it is a timely reminder of the damage our idle talk can do. Love ya :)


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