What does a Christian Need to Know about Gossip in the Bible?
What is gossip?
Gossip is talking about people behind their backs. When we gossip, we are sharing information that isn’t public knowledge and likely isn’t something that a person wants to have shared about themselves.
Simply put, gossip is any conversation that we would have that mentions another person that we would not share if that person were standing there.
Gossip is hurtful sharing that we believe is mostly truthful. When we knowingly share false about another person that is slander.
All too often, gossip is actually slanderous because we are sharing half-truths and don’t really know the full story.
“Small minds discuss people, average minds discuss events, great minds discuss ideas.” -often attributed to Eleanor Roosevelt
Why do we gossip?
We gossip because we have a sinful nature. Gossip is a way to make oneself seem important, well-connected, and informed.
Gossip is a way to vent our frustration with others or our unconscious frustration with ourselves. Gossip is the conversation that we have when we are focused on the actions of other people, rather than focusing on the gospel or things of significance.
“‘Are you still so dull?’ Jesus asked them. ‘Don’t you see that whatever enters the mouth goes into the stomach and then out of the body? But the things that come out of a person’s mouth come from the heart, and these defile them. For out of the heart come evil thoughts—murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander.’” Matthew 15:16-19
Our modern culture is a culture of gossip. Entertainment news is simply gossip about the personal lives of celebrities. Even the traditional news can sometimes feel like it is focused more on hearsay than on policies and events.
“When words are many, transgression is not lacking, but whoever restrains his lips is prudent.” Proverbs 10:19
Even in our regular lives, we feel entitled to know the details of even ordinary people’s personal lives. When decisions are made, we feel entitled to know all of the otherwise confidential details behind that decision.
Even in the church, we don’t trust the decisions of our Elders and other leaders. We want all the details so that we can judge for ourselves.
6 Bible Verses on Gossip
What does the Bible tell us about Gossip?
“A gossip betrays a confidence, but a trustworthy person keeps a secret.” Proverbs 11:13
“A perverse person stirs up conflict, and a gossip separates close friends.” Proverbs 16:28
“The words of a gossip are like choice morsels; they go down to the inmost parts.” Proverbs 18:8
“A gossip betrays a confidence; so avoid anyone who talks too much.” Proverbs 20:19
“Without wood, a fire goes out; without a gossip, a quarrel dies down.” Proverbs 26:20
“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 discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, slander, gossip, arrogance and disorder.” 2 Corinthians 12:20
What Do These Bible Verses Say Gossip Does?
- Betrays confidences
- Stirs up conflict
- Separates close friends
- Stains our souls by going down to our innermost parts
- Flames the fire of fights and quarrels
The Biblical Test for Gossip
“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. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.” Ephesians 4:29-32
The questions we need to ourselves to detect gossip:
- Does it build up?
- Are we speaking about others the way we would like to be spoken about?
- Does it honor?
- Does it help?
- Would we say it in front of that person?
How To Not Gossip & Deal with Gossip Biblically
“Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.” Philippians 4:8
As Christians, even our conversation is to be used to bring glory to God. It is our responsibility to model conversations that build others up and brings them closer to God.
Does this mean we need to be aggressive evangelists? No, that doesn’t usually bring people closer to Jesus. Lol.
What should you do if you are in a conversation where someone complains that “Susy” is always late and starts talking about Suzy? Transition the conversation.
Change the focus on the conversation by saying: “I don’t know what all is on ‘Suzy’s” plate, but I know struggle with being late too. What are you gals’ best tips for getting places on time? How do you get your kids to cooperate?”
What should you say when someone says: “I need to share this with you, but you can’t tell anyone else?”
Ask: “Is this secret about you?” If so, yes, listen. If it isn’t about that person, then tell your friend that you are not comfortable with hearing about someone’s secret.
Our words are powerful.
- We can change the world with the conversations that we have.
- We can change the quality of our friendships with the conversations that we have.
- We can change our churches with the conversations that we have.
In our increasingly polarized society, our world needs Christians who direct conversations in ways that build others up and build bridges of understanding.
If we put an end to gossip, think of how powerfully God can use our conversation to bless others!
The voice behind FaithfulMotherhood.com is Jyn. She is a veteran homeschool mom of three. More than just a pastor’s wife, she holds a Master of Divinity degree and has served in church leadership for over 20 years. Her passion is equipping parents to live out their calling as the number one faith influencer for their children. She longs to see moms empowered by God’s Word and transferring that love to their children through daily Bible study and family devotions.