A New Definition of Gossip
“It’s not gossip if it’s true.”
“She didn’t say that it’s a secret, so it’s not gossip.”
“I’m only telling you this so you can pray for her. That’s not gossip, right?”
Have you ever heard anyone defend their speech like this? Have you ever used these lines yourself? I have. Too many times to count.
Gossip is mentioned often throughout the Bible.
Romans 1:29-30 says, “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, slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful; they invent ways of doing evil; they disobey their parents; they are senseless, faithless, heartless, ruthless. 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.”
Yikes! Gossip is listed among some very serious offenses in this passage, making it clear that there is nothing trivial about it in the eyes of God.
Second Corinthians 12:20 says, “For I am afraid that when I come I may not find you as I want you to be, and you may not find me as you want me to be. I fear that there may be quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, factions, slander, gossip, arrogance and disorder.”
You may already know that gossip doesn't please the Lord, but what is gossip exactly? God’s Word provides the answer. According to Scripture we gossip whenever we:
- Tell a secret (Proverbs 11:13)
- Talk too much about others (Proverbs 16:28)
- Use our words to add fuel to a fight (Proverbs 26:20)
- Discuss topics we shouldn’t (1 Timothy 5:13)
- We are also gossiping any time our words cause division (Proverbs 16:28).
When we apply God’s Word to our speech, the excuses I listed above just don’t hold water. Can our words cause division, add fuel to a fight, or betray a confidence even if they’re true? You bet. Are there some things best left unsaid even if we haven’t been sworn to secrecy? Yep. Is it necessary to share every detail of a situation in order to ask someone to pray? Not really.
I know that this can be especially tough for us gals. It’s no secret that we’ve been given the gift of gab. Often I find myself gossiping just because I can’t think of anything else to talk about. But in the future, I hope to remember God’s definition of gossip. If it doesn’t glorify Him and highly esteem others, I hope to keep my mouth shut. How about you?