What is Gossip?

We can probably all confess that we have done this. You know, in the break room at work, or on the phone about a mutual friend. If you haven’t ever gossiped, will you be my friend?

Gossip (psith-oo-ris-tace’) (psithuristes) is a whisperer, secret slanderer, detractor. One writer says…“Psithuristes describes the man who whispers his malicious stories in the listeners ear, who takes a man apart into a corner and whispers a character-destroying story.”

Paul talked about gossip in the two separate lists of evil practices

For I am afraid that perhaps when I come I may find you to be not what I wish and may be found by you to be not what you wish; that perhaps there will be strife, jealousy, angry tempers, disputes, slanders, gossip, arrogance, disturbances;

2 Corinthians 12:20

Then in Romans 1:29-32 he lists gossip with a bunch of sins the unbeliever is doing. Then 1 Timothy 5:13 talks about the widow gossiping.

I would rather play with forked lightning, or take in hand living wires with their fiery current, than speak a reckless word against any servant of Christ, or idly repeat the slanderous darts which thousands of Christians are hurling on others, to the hurt of their own souls and bodies.”

A.B. Simpson [Emphasis Mine]

If you think about it, we all have things in our lives that can be ammunition for others to use as gossip. I guess our only solution is to live a better life in Christ! As one unknown writer put it. “Lead your life so you won’t be ashamed to sell the family parrot to the town gossip.”

James 3 warns us about the danger of our tongue when we use it the wrong way, it’s evil and full of deadly poison James 3:7-8.

Gossip is in the old Testament too. Gossip, word origin is a scandal-monger (as traveling about) Hebrew (rāḵîl) (raw-keel’) slanderer, slanderous, talebearer and one who reveals secrets.

He who goes about as a slanderer reveals secrets,
Therefore do not associate with a gossip.

Proverbs 20:19

Those who gossip speak the faults and failures of others, they tell embarrassing details about their lives without their knowledge or approval. Proverbs 20:19 says avoid these people who go around talking about others.

Think about it, if they’re gossiping about others in front of you, they are probably gossiping about you, too.

What do we do?

We can refuse to hear gossip, that will stop it dead in its tracks. The way I try to kill the sin of gossip in my life is to never say anything behind a person’s back that I wouldn’t say to them face to face. If I have something against anyone, I will first go straight to them. I have always tried to do that.

The other obvious solution for gossip, is prayer. I think it would be very difficult to gossip about someone you are praying for.

Gossiping is a sin that needs to be confess to God. 1 John 1:9.

Paul has some great advice in Ephesians 4…

Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, so that it will give grace to those who hear.

Ephesians 4:29 [Emphasis Mine]

We get the first part of this verse, the believer is to strip away any filthy and coarse language. But then Paul adds the believer is to speak only that which is good and will edify and build according to the need of the moment so that it will give grace to those who hear.

A believers speech is for a purpose, and it’s not to gossip or to tear down someone. Our words should build them up by sharing words of encouragement and words of truth.

Proverbs 21:23
He who guards his mouth and his tongue,
Guards his soul from troubles.

…and that’s a beautiful thing!

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