Read: Proverbs 26:20
Without wood a fire goes out; without gossip a quarrel dies down.
Have you ever been the object of malicious gossip? Stinks, doesn’t it? When you are in a position of visibility like I am, the gossip factor seems to go way up. My favorite tidbit of gossip was in a previous ministry where a lady who didn’t like me much pulled one of my church members aside and whispered in her ear,
“Hey, I heard the pastor traded his BMW in for a Lamborghini!”
Sheesh! I wish. I would have just been happy to have the BMW instead of the Toyota my family said looked like an old man’s car.
Gossip stinks. It hurts. It is meant to divide, demean, and destroy a person’s character in the eyes of others while in some sick way building up the esteem of the purveyor of the gossip. The only game the gossiper knows how to play is a zero-sum game: They can win only if the object of their gossip loses.
Gossip destroys reputations, it ruins friendships, it wrecks homes, it hurts businesses and it even messes up what Jesus loves so dearly—the church. And something else about gossip we need to realize: God hates gossip…and God hates gossipers!
Ouch! You think I am being too hard-nosed about that? Okay, decide for yourself:
There are six things the LORD hates, seven that are detestable to him: haughty eyes, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked schemes, feet that are quick to rush into evil, a false witness who pours out lies and a man who stirs up dissension among brothers. (Proverbs 6:16-19)
Yeah, that’s what God thinks about those who traffic in gossip, half-truths and conversations that are meant to tear down and break up. No wonder being the object of gossip hurts just about as bad as anything—if God himself hates malicious gossip and chronic gossipers, it’s got to be an activity whose source is the pit of hell.
Now here’s the thing: If you’ve had that horrible experience of being gossiped about, you’ve probably been the source of some gossip yourself, or if not the source, the conduit. But without a source, and without a pipeline, gossip dies—which is the only fitting outcome for gossip.
So the next time you’re tempted to pass on a juicy tidbit about someone else, or listen to someone who can’t wait to tell you something about someone else who isn’t there, just remember what God feels about gossip—and don’t!
He that gossips and he that listens should both be hung;
One by the ear and the other by the tongue!
Your Assignment, Should You Choose To Accept It:
Go on a “gossip fast” this week (okay, a permanent gossip fast is preferable, but let’s just start eating this elephant one bite at a time). Refuse to either say anything or listen to anything that wouldn’t be said if the object of the conversation were standing right there. And if you are in a relationship with a chronic gossiper, the next time they start to do their thing, stop them and ask, “would you mind if I brought [the subject matter] here so they can hear this?” or “do you mind if I quote you on that?” Believe me, do that a few times and you’ll put a stop to the gossiper.