When you were little, do you remember that catchy comeback sayings your parents would teach you? ‘Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.’ ‘I am rubber. You are glue. Whatever you say, bounces off me, and sticks to you.’
Odds are no matter what rhyming phrase you said to the antagonist, the words did hurt. They did stop you in your tracks and potentially leave you with a complex.
As you got older, the majority of mean comments were no longer to your face. Instead, they were behind your back in a more organized fashion – gossip.
In case you are curious, there are a lot of scriptures in the Bible related to gossip:
- Ephesians 4:29 – 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.
- Exodus 23:1 – Do not spread false reports. Do not help a guilty person by being a malicious witness.
- James 1:26 – Those who consider themselves religious and yet do not keep a tight rein on their tongues deceive themselves, and their religion is worthless.
- Leviticus 19:16 – Do not go spreading slander among your people. Do not do anything that endangers your neighbor’s life. I am the Lord.
There are so many other powerful scriptures that echo the disgust for gossip.
At its core, gossip is an unknown lie. There is no concrete proof as to whether or not the discussions are true or false. Since there is no value, gossip can be classified as slander – and that is a sin according to God. Psalms 101:5 says, “Whoever slanders his neighbor secretly I will destroy.” Christians are called to a higher statue. Instead of allowing our neighbor to sink into despair, Christians should rise above and help thy neighbor overcome unrighteousness and adversity.
God has provided the best example by sacrificing himself for our sins. The Lord has cleansed us from all unrighteousness and no longer views us as we once were but accepts everyone who have a tarnished record. Every human being is made in the image of God. If Christians continue to tear down the name of another human being, they are contributing to the mockery of their Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
In other words, Christians participating in gossip are basically spitting on God.
Even if your gossip is circling around celebrities and Hollywood, this is still a sin. A Christian is not defined by their bank account and fame; therefore, justifying the acceptance of gossip based on those credentials has no bearing. God made each one of his creatures and didn’t designate the right to shame to anyone.
Gossip divides relationships, crushes trust, and creates pain that will outlast the words spoken. Proverbs 16:28 reminds us, “A perverse person stirs up conflict, and a gossip separates close friends.” And at its core, gossip is poisonous because it is a form of betrayal. Many people will challenge that impression, but regardless of whether or not a person hears the gossip, the Lord witnesses it.
Christians take pride knowing that their God is always listening. He is always by their side, through thick and thin. No matter how bad a situation may be, God is there. Nevertheless, he is there when his children participate in gossip – whether it is considered as harmless or not. James 3:7-8 reinforce this, “All kinds of animals, birds, reptiles and sea creatures are being tamed and have been tamed by mankind, but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison.
So, what are Christians supposed to do when they hear gossip?
Titus 3:1-2 reminds us to be wise. “Remind the people to be subject to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready to do whatever is good, to slander no one, to be peaceable and considerate, and always be gentle toward everyone.” Oftentimes, Christians will join a conversation because they want to feel like they are part of something – part of a community, part of a small group, part of a small talk discussion. However, through honor for his image and reputation Christians should tame their tongues and recognize the bigger picture. Their words are powerful. Their words can the course of events. Their words have meaning – even if they don’t recognize it.
All in all, God did not create human beings to judge each other and point out everyone’s imperfections and insecurities. He created humans with a voice to lift each other up, to love each other and treat strangers like their neighbors. While we may have the freedom of speech, it is not within God’s plan for a Christian’s freedom of speech to include negative and untrue speech. Galatians 5:13 reinforces this, “You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love.”
So, as a Christian speak and step up. Even though gossip may be tempting, do not indulge. God has a bigger plan for you and hurting others through your words is not one of them. Gossip is a sin. Instead of spreading hatred and animosity, choose to spread peace and love. Christians are created in His image – and honoring Him cannot be done through gossip.