This post could be used for a topical Bible study. It’s loaded with scriptural references, and I encourage you to look each of them up. Better yet, copy and paste this series for your own future use.
THE EVIL OF GOSSIP
Romans 1:28-32 (NIV) 28 Furthermore, since they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, he gave them over to a depraved mind, to do what ought not to be done. 29 They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. They are GOSSIPS, 30 SLANDERERS, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful; they invent ways of doing evil; they disobey their parents; 31 they are senseless, faithless, heartless, ruthless. 32 Although they know God's righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them.
In the passage above, the Bible paints a GRIM PICTURE for those who have rejected the Lord and embraced a lifestyle of wickedness – sins worthy of death (v.32).
But take note of two particular sins that are included in this list – GOSSIP and SLANDER (v.29-30). This may come as a surprise to some, but it is worth pointing out that the Bible includes these sins in the SAME LIST as greed, adultery, murder, and deceit. Think about it – gossipers and slanderers are in the same league as murderers, sex perverts, and God’s haters.
Slander is defined as “malicious talk; to spread damaging information; to defame, to speak ill of.”
According the scripture, any believer who does not control his/her words does not have a right relationship with God. James 1:26 says, ““If anyone considers himself religious and yet does not keep a tight reign on his tongue, he DECEIVES HIMSELF and HIS RELIGION is WORTHLESS” (NIV).
No true believer would ever think of committing murder “every now and then.” It’s silly to even say such a thing. But what about gossip? Do you commit gossip “every now and then” thinking it’s not such a big deal?
NOT JUST A “LITTLE” BAD HABIT
Any behavior that is placed in the same category (list) as murder must be a serious sin – something that should not be taken lightly. Unfortunately, a great many believers commit gossip on a regular basis and do not realize how wrong it really is.
I’ve been a believer for more than half my life, and in the ministry almost as long, and have encountered way too many “Christians” who don’t believe gossip is such a big deal. Some of these people have caused irreparable damage to the body of Christ and in local churches. I could fill a book with stories of anguish inflicted by these people.
We must realize that gossip is more than just a little bad habit. It is wicked, and sinful – a seething disease of corruption that oozes from the mouth. Paul said their “throat” is like an “open grave” (Romans 3:13-14).
Gossip is the enemy of God and everything called holy – a cancer which spreads deadly infection throughout the body of Christ.
Jesus warned that those who offend one of His little ones, it would be better for them to be bound with a millstone and drowned in the sea (Mark 9:42). Surely, a harsh and horrible punishment awaits those unrepentant gossips who harm the followers of Jesus.
• Watch out for gossip. Whenever you hear someone else’s’ name being used in conversation, be alert.
• Avoid hanging out with people who gossip “A gossip betrays a confidence; so avoid a man who talks too much” (Proverbs. 20:19).
• Gossip often masquerades as “concern” for others and often comes in the form of “prayer requests.” Rumors or gossip will seem more palatable if they first hide behind a pretentious expression of concern. “I hate to say anything about this to you, but I’m ’concerned’ about so-and-so.”
• At other times the gossiper will seek you out as their “confidante” to unload their “heavy heart” about their concerns. “I’m very troubled about so-and-so and I don’t know who else to talk to about it.” In reality, the gossip is not sincerely concerned about solving the problem, only in talking about it -- stirring it up. “A perverse man stirs up dissension, and a gossip separates close friends” (Proverbs. 16:28).
• A gossip thrives on the negative, the controversial, and the sensational. Any person who is genuinely concerned about solving a problem, will go and privately confront the person at the source and express their concern. Or else they should go privately to the pastor so he will do it.
• If you listen to a gossiper, he/she will use your name as an “endorsement” the next time they spread their talk to someone else. Now you have been pulled in and are culpable as well. And on and on it goes.
• “A gossip betrays a confidence, but a trustworthy man keeps a secret” (Proverbs 11:13).
THINGS TO REMEMBER ABOUT GOSSIP
• Gossip is listed in the same list of sins as murder, adultery, and sex perverts, and will suffer the same consequences unless there is genuine repentance (Romans. 1:28-32).
• God holds you accountable to your words (Matt. 12:36-37).
• The person who gossips to you about others, also gossips to others about you.
• Gossip & slander disqualifies persons for spiritual leadership (1 Timothy 3:11).
• Gossip often masks as pretentious concerns for others.
• Gossip thrives upon secrecy.
• Gossip always contributes to a problem and never to a solution.
• Gossip always distorts and exaggerates, and is never a reliable source of truth.
• Those who gossip & slander are not in right fellowship with God (James 1:26).
• Those who gossip rarely get answers to prayer, and often face persistent, unexplainable problems (Psalms 66:18, Proverbs 21:23, Proverbs 6:12-15).
• Those who gossip are doomed to fail in the ministry,
WHAT TO DO ABOUT GOSSIP
• If you have been guilty of it, confess it and ask for forgiveness (I John 1:9; II Corinthians 7:10).
• Keep your nose out of other people’s business.
• If you can’t say something good or encouraging about others, then don’t say anything, (Ephesians 4:29).
• Never criticize another person, except to their own face with an intent to help. Criticism is never “constructive” if expressed to anyone else.
• If your “friends” start bad-mouthing others to you, stop them in their tracks -- refuse to be a partaker of their sins (1 Tim 5:22).
• Avoid association with persons who gossip (Proverbs 20:19).
• Expose works of darkness by reporting gossip to the pastor or church elders that they may confront the offender and offer correction.
• Gossip should be treated as any other vile sin (Ephesians 5:11).