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The Sin of Gossip

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What is gossip?

The Free Dictionary says:

1. casual and idle chat: to have a gossip with a friend.
2. a conversation involving malicious chatter or rumours about other people: a gossip about the neighbours.
3. Also called: gossipmonger a person who habitually talks about others, esp maliciously

When we think of sin – we don’t usually think about gossip as being “that big of a deal.” “Everyone does it,” right? “It’s unavoidable.”

But what does God think about gossip?

From www.openbible.com – verses about gossip:

Ephesians 4:29 ESV

Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.

Proverbs 16:28 ESV

A dishonest man spreads strife, and a whisperer separates close friends.

Proverbs 6:16-19 ESV

There are six things that the Lord hates, seven that are an abomination to him: haughty eyes, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked plans, feet that make haste to run to evil, a false witness who breathes out lies, and one who sows discord among brothers.

Proverbs 21:23 ESV

Whoever keeps his mouth and his tongue keeps himself out of trouble.

Proverbs 20:19 ESV

Whoever goes about slandering reveals secrets; therefore do not associate with a simple babbler.

James 1:26 ESV

If anyone thinks he is religious and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his heart, this person’s religion is worthless.

Titus 3:2 ESV

To speak evil of no one, to avoid quarreling, to be gentle, and to show perfect courtesy toward all people.

Psalm 101:5 ESV

Whoever slanders his neighbor secretly I will destroy. Whoever has a haughty look and an arrogant heart I will not endure.

Matthew 12:36 ESV

I tell you, on the day of judgment people will give account for every careless word they speak,

Proverbs 11:13 ESV

Whoever goes about slandering reveals secrets, but he who is trustworthy in spirit keeps a thing covered.

James 4:11 ESV

Do not speak evil against one another, brothers. The one who speaks against a brother or judges his brother, speaks evil against the law and judges the law. But if you judge the law, you are not a doer of the law but a judge.

Proverbs 26:20 ESV

For lack of wood the fire goes out, and where there is no whisperer, quarreling ceases.

2 Timothy 2:16 ESV

But avoid irreverent babble, for it will lead people into more and more ungodliness,

1 Timothy 5:13 ESV

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.

Romans 1:29 ESV

They were filled with all manner of unrighteousness, evil, covetousness, malice. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, maliciousness. They are gossips,

James 3:8 ESV

But no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison.

Philippians 4:8 ESV

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.

2 Corinthians 12:20 ESV

For I fear that perhaps when I come I may find you not as I wish, and that you may find me not as you wishβ€”that perhaps there may be quarreling, jealousy, anger, hostility, slander, gossip, conceit, and disorder.

1 Thessalonians 4:11 ESV

And to aspire to live quietly, and to mind your own affairs, and to work with your hands, as we instructed you,

Ephesians 4:31 ESV

Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice.

 

I have a video on Youtube about gossip that I made this week. I think you might find it to be challenging, interesting and hopefully inspiring – that God is able to give us victory over this sin by His Spirit working in our lives.

 

http://youtu.be/Ae8h862Ht9w

 

22 thoughts on “The Sin of Gossip

  1. Wow! Yahweh brought me many of these verses earlier in the week & I wasn’t sure why. . .as I read over them again today, they are speaking differently to me.

    I am a person that many people “vent” to. And I can often “relate” to whomever I’m speaking (probably because I’ve made so many relational mistakes myself πŸ™ ). . .I try to dispense good, biblical advice, but these sorts of conversations often put me in a position where I’m sympathetic to a situation from one perspective, but also from another. . .

    I’ve tried very hard in my own life not to be blabbing on about someone else (sometimes hard because I’m a talker by nature) but sometimes others blab on to me about others and I’ve found this is just as bad!

    We need to be sooo careful with this one. Yahweh has in the past encouraged me to simply close my mouth for awhile since I’m not using it wisely. I feel another of those sessions coming on. . . it’s possible he might also be asking me to close my ears!!!

    1. Fallenshort,

      This can get tricky. Because if you are mentoring a wife, she will probably be telling you things that may be disparaging about her husband. But if you are then gently and firmly teaching, rebuking and correcting her as a mentor, and addressing her sin, then you are part of the solution. Of course, you wouldn’t then share what she confided in you.

      But if people are only coming to vent and will not listen to biblical counsel, then it would be better not to listen.

      I hope that makes sense!!!

      Much love!
      April

      1. Thanks for those thoughts, April! It’s always more of the first. And I’m sure you understand this (as I guess pastors and counselors do, too, now that I think about it) Sometimes I just feel like I know a lot more than I should about things. . . . . .

        I don’t generally think twice about that, and the information ALWAYS stops here, but like I said, this is the 2nd time this week I’ve looked at the same verses. Pray for me for purity of my own motives, if you will, because there may be something I’m not seeing. Thanks, sister!

        1. Fallenshort,

          I totally understand! And, you can ask women to be respectful of their husbands as they share – and you can say, “This may not be something that is wise to share with me” if you feel they go over the line.

          I pray for God’s wisdom and for clarity about your motives.

          Much love!
          April

    1. Patricia,

      I believe that it certainly could. That is a great thing to pray about. I don’t read/watch those things precisely for that reason. They don’t really fit the Philippians 4:8 test.

      Much love!

  2. I have found that many times gossips are also false accusers. This type of behavior hurts/destroys people’s reputations and testimonies. Even if something is true, sometimes as things get repeated, they get exaggerated. It is human nature to embellish; when we embellish, we become false accusers or slanderers. Hopefully, as we grow in the Lord, we learn by reading Scripture, through experience, or by being mentored that this is dishonoring to the Lord. I have always found it interesting that the Lord admonishes “aged women” to teach younger women to have certain qualities & behavior in Titus 2:3-5. One of the qualities of an aged woman is that she is not a false accuser. If we want the Lord to use us older women to mentor younger women, we need to have learned/developed the type of character qualities that this text of Scripture talks about. We cannot love our neighbor by gossiping, slandering, or falsely accusing them.
    Titus 2:3-5, “The aged women likewise, that they be in behavior as becometh holiness, not false accusers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things. That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children, to be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the Word of God be not blasphemed.” False accusers, slanderers, and gossips will cause the Word of God to be reviled!! May we never do or say anything that would cause people to blaspheme the Word of God! Great admonition, April!

    1. Eliza

      You always adds such godly wisdom to the discussion. I love it! thank you so much for sharing! So true. I appreciate you bringing up slander and false accusations. Those do often go along with gossip for sure.

  3. I grew up with a mother and grandmother who both gossip frequently, but believe that as long as what they are saying is true, it is okay. It wasn’t until a few years ago that I began to see just how much I gossip, how sinful my words and thoughts are and how deep this problem is within me. It’s been a slow process of change and for now, I am trying to surround myself with people who don’t struggle with gossip. The hardest part is trying to put up my guard with my mother. I don’t want to avoid her, but I don’t want to go down that path with her either, yet she does not see that sin in her life set all and trying to stop those conversations is hard.

    1. Lucy,
      It is very difficult when family members, especially elder ones, participate in gossip. It makes it very difficult to address the issue. I find that I have to just say, “I am so sorry, but I can’t listen to gossip anymore. Let’s talk about something else, please.” And if they cannot – then you may have to distance yourself a bit. You can try redirecting the conversations. Or you can say, “Let’s go talk to so and so right now and straighten this out, Mom.”

      Or you can say, “I am working on not gossiping, God has shown me that this is serious sin. I just can’t hear this.”

      Praying for wisdom for you!

      1. Thanks. I’m going to copy the verses you quoted and work on memorizing them and I am going to continue to try to divert the conversations.

        This post was so well timed! πŸ™‚

  4. Thanks April. Gossip is what I would describe as the overlooked sin but beneath it are other sins; lies, envy, jealousy, bitterness etc. I am also in the process of conquering it in my life after growing up in with people who talked about others.i thought it is normal but God has helped me realize what a sin it is. One bible verse has helped me; Philipians4:8-9. What we think about others and God is very critical. even when you know someone has done something wrong, think good of them. talk good of them.If its hard to say anything positive, keep silent. hard for many of us but God will help us by his Spirit. A book called Loving God with all your mind by Elizabeth George; has helped me practice sieving my thoughts and words.

    1. Liz,
      Thank you for sharing! Yes, those other sins you mentioned absolutely feed gossip and come from gossip. Thank you for sharing this powerful passage of scripture and the book by Elizabeth George. It sounds amazing!!!!! πŸ™‚

  5. This is an issue here for me, my mom & sister often gossip about each other & im usually the ear it goes in. I have noticed ive been silent a lot when they start goin on about it but sometimes I still get sucked into it. I have noticed it with my husband as well when were out pickin at what strangers do/wear, makin fun, or name calling. I think this topic & patience are this weeks assignments from God for me.

  6. April, today, another agonizing encounter with the sin of gossip and jealousy, as the offender. I feel like moving to a remote mountain community and becoming one of those willowy elder ladies with long silver braids, who lives in an old cabin, eating a diet of wild root vegetables and elderberries and whose main company is God, a huge dog, small pony and a Winchester. I think I will watch the video.

    1. Patricia,

      It is so easy to cross over that line! I still have to be so careful in certain settings – at work, with extended family. I do better if I don’t talk about other people at all many times. Praying for you, my friend! And I have felt the same way you are feeling many times.

My grandmother is on hospice and won't be with us much longer (11-30-16). I will get to comments when I am able to but I need to be with family right now. Thanks for understanding.

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