Gossip is a sin. It may be okay with the ways of the world, but it’s totally against the ways of God.
A perverse man sows strife, and a whisperer separates the best of friends. Proverbs 16:28
Gossip, according to Merriam-Webster, is “information about the behavior and personal lives of other people; or information about the lives of famous people.” A gossiper is “a person who often talks about the private details of other people’s lives.”
The Bible teaches this: The words of a gossip are like choice morsels; they go down to the inmost parts. Proverbs 18:8 NIV
There is something very inviting about gossip to the carnal heart. It feeds a part of us where other negative emotions and beliefs reside. So why should we turn away from gossip? Here are a few thoughts:
First, gossip is hurtful. It’s not loving. And it’s harmful to those being talked about and to ourselves. Gossip’s motive is powered in pride and judgement, both of which are repugnant to God. When we consider the amazing way of living that we can have when we follow God’s ways for our life, then it’s easy to see why gossip is not part of His equation for a loving and peaceful life. Gossip serves as poison in our souls and contaminates our hearts.
Second, when we gossip we are turning our back on God and turning to the ways of the enemy whose only desire is to steal, kill and destroy anything that is good and pure. We sense this truth when we keep our hearts open to the Lord at all times and feel the conviction whenever we may engage in gossip.
Perhaps you know the sting of gossip because others have said things about you. You’ve felt the hurt. You’ve experienced the betrayal. You’ve been pierced by the arrows of judgement and disapproval.
Or maybe you know the perils of gossip because you’ve felt the correction of the Holy Spirit when you’ve been in the middle of a gossip session. You know in your heart that you’re engaging in dark actions and sense the Lord is not pleased.
So what do we do? In a time when so many people engage in gossip, how do we chose to walk in the Spirit and not the ways of the flesh by joining in when the gossip is offered?
One: Make a quality decision to never gossip again! Draw a line in the sand of your heart and make a personal commitment and a promise to the Lord to never gossip. Take gossip off your list of activities. And keep your spiritual ears open for when you hear the invitation to participate in this sinful behavior.
Keep in mind that gossip is betrayal and sows strife and discord. Rather than walking in the light and bringing goodness to situations, when we gossip we partner with negative actions and emotions. We take the hand of bitterness, unkindness, and hate.
Right now you can make a decision to not gossip! That’s what I did many years ago, prompted by the Holy Spirit and wanting to please God rather than my own selfish ambitions. Does that mean I have never gossiped since I took that stand? Rarely . . . and not because I am so good, but because the God is me is greater!
When gossip enters the room, I try to recognize it immediately and choose to turn away. I try to discern the information as to whether it’s hurtful and unkind . . . or is what is being said something that if the person were present could also be shared. Is the intent of the conversation life-giving or is it unkind and unloving?
What do you do if you find yourself in the clutches of gossip? Stop and then seek forgiveness. Repent, which means change to what is right. And recommit yourself to not engage in gossip.
Two: When you find yourself in a situation where others are gossiping, counter the circumstance by either changing the subject or by putting a stop to the unbecoming behavior.
Where there is no wood, the fire goes out; and where there is no talebearer, strife ceases. Proverbs 26:20
Your loving response brings a different “energy” into the conversation. Usher Christ’s love into the room. Offer a different response and a direction that leads to good. Speak well of people Always lift up what is good about them. Be the life-giver rather than the one fueling the fire with strife and unkindness.
When you make the decision to not gossip you are making the decision to step into freedom. You are choosing to not take on the weight of gossip or being a gossip bearer. Your decision is one of love and good that serves you, serves others, and serves God.
What are your thoughts about gossip? Have you been the victim of this unkind behavior? Have you learned to turn away from gossip? Are you making a decision today to stop gossiping and to choose good?