“Hey! You aren’t going to believe this!”
“Have you heard the latest?”
“Guess what _______did!”
“Don’t repeat this…”
“I hate to talk about people but…”
Many times these are some of the phrases that are followed by gossip, spreading rumors and telling other peoples’ business.
Gossip can be destructive to people, families, communities, organizations and even churches.
Some popular television shows are successful primarily for the love of gossip.
The bible is clear that God forbids His people from gossiping…
“Whoever slanders their neighbor in secret, I will put to silence…”
Proverbs 16:28 (NIV)
“A perverse person stirs up conflict, and a gossip separates close friends.”
Proverbs 11:13 (NIV)
“A gossip betrays confidence, but a trustworthy person keeps a secret.”
Ephesians 4:29 (NIV)
“Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.”
James 4:11 (NIV)
“Brothers and sisters, do not slander one another….”
Yes, it’s wrong to gossip…but what makes sharing certain information gossip?
It’s the intent of the heart. It’s not WHAT you’re telling, but WHY your telling it.
Some people gossip to stir strife…
Some do it to help their personal agenda…
Some people just enjoy the thrill of being the first to share certain news…
But, sharing information is not always gossip.
Notice the verses…
1 Corinthians 1:5 (NIV)
It is actually reported that there is sexual immorality among you, and of a kind that even pagans do not tolerate: A man is sleeping with his father’s wife.
Colossians 1 (NIV)
3 We always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, when we pray for you,4 because we have heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of the love you have for all God’s people—
In the two verses above, someone shared information with the Apostle Paul, how else would he have heard about the dysfunction in the Corinthian church or the faith in the Colossian church?
In the two verses above, we both good and bad information being shared, but neither were gossip because of the REASON the information was shared.
It wasn’t shared to shame…
It wasn’t shared to spite…
It wasn’t shared to slander…
It wasn’t shared to glorify…
It was shared to build up others…to strengthen the church…it was shared to help.
Be very careful about the information that you share and that you receive.
Remember that sometimes it’s beneficial to give the 411 on a situation, but always be honest with yourself as to YOUR personal reason for telling it.
And, if someone comes to you with something and you feel it’s just needless gossip. Once you tell them that you don’t want to hear it…they won’t come to you again.
The responsibility falls on both the person who tells and the person who hears.
Remember what Jesus said in Matthew 12:26 (NIV)
36 But I tell you that everyone will have to give account on the day of judgment for every empty word they have spoken.