Half truths. Lies. Loose talks. Backbiting. Slander. They are all the same. They all destroy.
Our staff at church is quite clear about this killer. Gossiping & lying are grounds for termination. We take the matter seriously because we know that it seriously destroys relationships. If you hate people, this would be the best thing to do to ward them off. Bible says a whisperer separates close friends. (Prov. 16:28)
To my knowledge, we gossip in two ways:
Blatantly. Slandering, backbiting, rumor (verified or not) spreading — these are all blatant, upfront gossiping. Paul mentions in 1 Timothy 5:13-14, Besides that, they learn to be idlers, going about from house to house, and not only idlers, but also gossips and busybodies, saying what they should not. House to house there can be translated to restaurant to restaurant, church to church, coffee shop to coffee shop, room to room, and office to office. See the connection between idlers and gossipers? They fall for gossiping because they have no regard for the Kingdom (for the Christians). There is no urgency in their heart for the preaching of the gospel. They mind other people’s business. The sense of urgency is to let loose the tongue instead of preaching the gospel. Normally they are troublemakers because they spread lies. And usually and quite sadly, they are the ones who do not grow in their faith.
The role of a gossiper in any relationship is clear: he/she destroys. Proverbs 26:20 For lack of wood the fire goes out, and where there is no whisperer, quarreling ceases. It’s a peaceful world without them around.
Sometimes we make excuses and justifications that we are just making normal rumblings, or maybe sharing our “valid” concerns, or just venting out. Worst is, sometimes we do it in a form of prayer request. “I think we need to cover her in prayers. I feel like there is something wrong with her.” Then comes the domino of questions, “Why, what’s wrong with her?”
Do you know that sometimes we gossip in the name of accountability? Remember, the scope of accountability covers you, and not the people around you. So do not go to your accountability partner/s sharing your thoughts about other people for the sake of accountability. Shame! Not to mention, dumb and foolish.
Gossip has been well marketed by the devil in the church. Don’t fall for the slick marketing promo.
Subtly. Let me talk about the second one. Subtle ways of gossiping are very much prevalent among us Christians. These are words we say that make our listener question the ways and character of the person we are pertaining to. It insinuates us to think wrongful things about the person.
“Oh, how can he afford a phone like that when he holds an ordinary job?” “I’m not sure how well he relates with his wife.” “Oh really he was out of town? All by himself??” Etc.
The words of a whisperer is like a choice morsel; they go down into the inmost parts. (Prov. 18:18) A morsel is something you take in small amount. If you are a ‘dipper’, by that I mean just a mere listener and confider of a gossiper, take note of what the Bible says about you: An evildoer listens to wicked lips and a liar gives ear to a mischievous tongue. Proverbs 17:4 Just in case you don’t understand that, it basically say that for savoring gossip, you are an evildoer and a liar.
Okay, Now what?
If you are not part of the problem stay away from the problem. You are not the solution. If you find yourself in the middle of a gossiping friend, try changing the topic. If you hear concerns, encourage them to bring it up to the person concerned. It’s good to ask help from your leaders, but sometimes in times like these the number of our leaders swell up to 15. Get what I mean?
If you can’t hold up to your friends who love gossiping, might as well choose friends who would take you in a different route. Proverbs 20:19 Whoever goes about slandering reveals secrets; therefore do not associate with a simple babbler.