Are you the kind of person that keeps people’s confidences so that they can trust you? Why is gossip so destructive to relationships?
“A gossip betrays a confidence, but a trustworthy person keeps a secret.” (Proverbs 11:13 NIV)
We tend to think of gossip as one of those “little” sins. But when God talks about gossip, he puts it on the list with things like sexual immorality and murder. Why? Because it is so destructive to relationships. Gossip can tear apart friendships, families, and churches.
Gossip is talking about a situation with somebody who is neither a part of the solution nor a part of the problem. If we’re honest with ourselves, what we’re doing is making ourselves feel a little more important at somebody else’s expense. We’re talking about their hurts and their problems to make us feel like we’re morally superior to them. That’s the danger and the hurt of gossip.
There’s a story in the Old Testament about a family that struggled with gossip. Moses had a sister name Miriam who one day got caught up in gossiping about Moses among the rest of the people. God called Moses and Miriam in and had a little talk. He spoke with Miriam and told her what she’d done wrong and right there on the spot gave her leprosy. You may be thinking, “That sounds terrible, but I’d like that to happen to the person who gossiped about me. Maybe not leprosy—but a really bad stomach flu, so that person knows how much this hurt.”
Do you know what God did next? He invited Moses to pray for Miriam’s healing—the person who gossiped against him.
Some of you have been deeply hurt by gossip and things that have been said around the office or a broken confidence between a friend or family member. Here’s what God has to say to you: “Pray for the person who gossiped against you so that you can be released from the hurt in your life.”
Or maybe you’ve been the one gossiping. This story is in the Old Testament to remind us how serious gossip is and how hurtful it can be to people, whatever side of it you’re on.
When you keep confidences, it enables you to connect to others in productive, healthy, and genuine ways.
Proverbs 11:13 says, “A gossip betrays a confidence, but a trustworthy person keeps a secret” (NIV).
Are you the kind of person that can keep people’s confidences so they can trust you?
Talk It Over
- How do you think God wants you to pray specifically for the person who gossiped about you?
- What do you normally do when people around you start to gossip? What do you think God wants you to do?
- Why does being a trustworthy person help deepen your relationships?
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