A Little is Too Much
Do not spread slanderous gossip among your people (leviticus 19:16).
There’s something so tempting about the antisocial delicacy of gossip. We enjoy it, even when it makes us feel guilty and ashamed. According to researchers, however, we don’t have to feel ashamed anymore because a little gossip is healthy. The researchers believe gossip is what keeps the culture going, greasing the social machine. “It’s a social skill, not a character flaw,” says Frank McAndrew, a professor of psychology at Knox College. “It’s only when you don’t do it well that you get into trouble.”
Well the Bible is very clear that a little gossip is unhealthy, and it’s what breaks down community.
The original word for gossip meant ‘idle talk’. This type of communication can lead to foolishly or maliciously spreading rumors or facts about another person. Solomon said that gossip could have disastrous effects. It’s used as an intimidation tactic against God’s leaders, (nehemiah 6:5-8; psalm 41:5-8; 3 john 9-10), separates close friends (proverbs 16:28), betrays confidences (11:13), shames and saddles the one speaking with a bad reputation (25:9-10), and it perpetually fuels the embers of quarrels (26:20).
God has zero tolerance for all forms of gossip because we can never undo the damage our untrue words have done to a neighbor (exodus 23:1; psalm 101:5). Simply put, even a little gossip is too much (and is unhealthy) because it can destroy God’s holy community (leviticus 19:16).
Let’s ask Jesus to help us set a guard over the door of our lips and limit our words (psalm 141:3; proverbs 10:19). We must also choose to associate only with people who use their words to lift up others (proverbs 20:19), remain busy in working and doing good things (1 timothy 5:13) and speak the truth about others in love.
Read john 7:12-13 and see how people gossiped about Jesus.
When are you tempted to be a gossip? How can you be an instrument of peace, quelling malicious talk about others?