There are few words in our English language that conjure a spectrum of emotions as much as the word gossip. Just hearing it can provoke anger, fear, rage, embarrassment, and sorrow, to name just some of the obvious. We feel anger when we see the impact of it; fear that it could happen to us; rage when it does happen to us; embarrassment when we hear it used to broadcast a friend’s failure to others; and sorrow when we see the damage it does to an innocent person.
No one is immune to gossip. And it is not limited to figures of notoriety. We hear words of gossip about our children’s teachers at school, our friends, members of our church, and even our pastors.
The words of a gossip are the wickedest of all words. Why? Gossiping carries great negative, destructive power. It does more damage that lasts longer and spreads further than other negative words. Gossip creates its own life, gaining momentum, expanding in influence as it broadcasts among people, with each person adding their negative spin to it. One act of gossip can tarnish or ruin a person’s lifelong, hard-earned, good reputation. A gossipy remark can decimate someone’s self-image and self-confidence. Gossip can lead to alienation, depression, and the loss of lifelong friends. It can destroy a pastor, his ministry, and his church.
I believe we can comprehend the depth and scope of gossip only through spiritual understanding. How important is it for us to understand gossip, not participate in it, and guard ourselves against it? Proverbs 6:16–19 lists six things the Lord hates and a seventh that is an abomination to him. What is that seventh? One who sows discord among brothers. Wow!
Why is gossip such a particularly grievous sin? Unity was Jesus’s repeated prayer to the Father in John 17:22–23. Unity among believers is what Christ believed would draw people to Him. Like no other words, gossip separates and destroys unity.
While we would all agree that gossip is strongly spoken against in the Scriptures, most of us still find it challenging to not listen to, spread, or sometimes even start gossip. Gossip is subtle, enticing, and addictive, and it can easily snare a person. We can be caught participating in it—from spreading simple rumors to entering the dark depths of slander.
The question you have to ask yourself is this, “How am I doing in keeping words of gossip out of my mouth?”
We would like to thank Tim Cameron & Charisma House for providing this plan.