Have you ever rated one sin above another? God does not. It may seem hard to understand how murder and gossip can be equally evil. However, according to the Bible, gossip or being a “talebearer” is considered murder with the tongue. Negative gossip destroys the reputation of those who are being gossiped about. It also hinders their forward progress by making them one with their sin rather than separating them from their sins – loving the person and hating the sin.
Gossip and slander keep the victim of gossip in bondage to ongoing scrutiny. And at its furthest extent, a person’s life can be ruined and relationships destroyed as a result of gossip and spreading rumors. Individuals, churches, families, businesses, ethnic groups, and even whole countries can fall prey to gossip and slander.
God takes gossip very seriously, and so should we. Proverbs 18:21 says: Death and life [are] in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof. (KJV)
Should God’s people gossip?
These sins should not be found thriving in the Body of Christ because they are carefully crafted weapons of the enemy to divide and destroy. Negative gossip creates an unsafe church. It keeps people on a constant guard to perform and appear a certain way to avoid scrutiny.
John 13:35 says: By this shall all [men] know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.
Negative gossip is not loving one another. How will the world know that we are His disciples? It’s how we love one another. We need to be a safe place for others, kind, full of grace, mercy, and compassion, remembering that love covers a multitude of sins. Love does not uncover.
He that covereth a transgression seeketh love; but he that repeateth a matter separateth [very] friends. Proverbs 17:9 KJV
Positive gossip solutions
So how do you handle gossip when it comes your way? Either walk away or shut it down. You can say that you are not interested in hearing it or simply excuse yourself and walk away. If you listen, you are participating with it, and it can keep spreading. You may liken putting an end to gossip to stopping a spiritual bullet from piercing a brother or sister.
If you find that you tend to listen to or agree with gossip, maybe there is a root of fear of man or fear of conflict that prevents you from facing it correctly. Or perhaps you foster an ungodly ‘need to know’ that keeps you hungry for information that might not be healthy or expedient to you.
God can help guide your conversations
Talk to God about it and ask Him to show you any areas in your heart that may connect with a gossiping spirit or fear of man. It may be a process, but God can help strengthen your spirit in this area by His Holy Spirit. You don’t have to face it alone; He will give you the wisdom and the words to speak at the moment and be your ever-present help in times of need.
Many, if not all of us, have participated with gossip or slander on some level. It is a sin that is common to man. This is not an occasion to fall under guilt or shame or condemnation. The Word says there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. This is an opportunity to expose the enemy’s strategy and come out of agreement with it so that we can move forward in God’s love, grace, and mercy.
[There is] therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. Romans 8:1 KJV
Is another person’s bad behavior really an excuse for gossip?
If you recognize that you’ve participated with gossip or slander, maybe it’s time to have an honest conversation before God. Ask Him to help you discern the root cause of what drives you to feel the need to spread that information.
Have you felt hurt or rejected by another person, and do you feel the driving need to protect others from them? Check for a root of bitterness, choose forgiveness, and ask God to heal your heart in that area. If you’ve been victimized, seek God for wisdom on how to properly deal with the issue. There may be some places in your heart that He wants to heal that have been deeply wounded. There may be an action that is necessary, but gossip and slander will just make you feel like you’re dealing with the problem but will bring no real solution. (check out this article on how to overcome bitterness)
Comparison is a trap that can lead to gossip
Or perhaps there’s a hidden root of envy and jealousy that causes you to feel more important if you expose the shortcomings of others. First, I want you to recognize this way of thinking is not you. It’s a spirit that is giving you its perspective about yourself and the other person and is occluding God’s perspective.
The truth is, you are fearfully and wonderfully made for such a time as this. You are a unique member of the body with unique giftings that are not comparable to anyone else. Therefore, if you look at others and compare yourself to others, you will miss out on who God created you to be. You need to look to Him to establish your role and identity. Then you will have nothing to prove because you will fit perfectly in the body as you were designed to.
You can revenge the enemy’s plans for gossip
Perhaps God can help you revenge the enemy’s schemes by turning your heart to build up others and encouraging them to rise up to be everything that they were intended to be in the Body of Christ. What if we turned the time spent gossiping into the time spent building others up? As God helps you find your place in Him, He may want to use you to help others find their place. Imagine the power of the Body of Christ when all of its members have found their place and work together in unity! It gives me so much excitement to think of the possibilities!
(If you’d like to learn more about how to overcome envy and jealousy, check out this article.)
Sometimes people gossip to hide their own insecurities
Do you struggle with performance and perfectionism? Do you feel the need to do everything perfectly and to perform for others in order to feel worthy of love or acceptance? Perhaps God’s unconditional love and His grace and mercy have been misrepresented to you, this can lead to fear, insecurity, and low self-esteem.
For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father. Romans 8:15 KJV
We are saved by God’s grace, and we need to give that grace to others too
If you are a member of the Body of Christ, the Bible says that you are already accepted in the beloved. You are not saved by works or performance but by receiving the forgiveness of your sins through the cleansing blood of Jesus Christ.
As believers, that cleansing blood should be an ongoing blessing that we receive daily. If we fall short, we have the privilege to repent, be forgiven, and try again. And God’s love, grace, and mercy work to lead us into righteousness, to think, speak, and act more like our Father in Heaven.
Gossip can be a form of manipulation that controls others out of fear
When we feel driven to perform in perfectionism, we can be led to be self-righteous. That means that we try to do good works to prove our value and spirituality rather than yielding to the Holy Spirit and letting Him work through us. That pressure and expectation that we put on ourselves will inevitably spill out onto others, and we will find that we are less gracious towards others and more aware of their shortcomings. Therefore, we may become more susceptible to a root of bitterness and more apt to try to spread our observation to others. Sadly, the side effect is that others will feel the pressure to perform around us because they may feel afraid of the same judgment coming back toward them.
The truth is that we all sin and fall short of the glory of God. We’re all humans; fellows on a ship doing the best we know how to do. We all need God’s grace and mercy daily. We all need a savior daily. And we all need a safe place where we can grow up together in love and fellowship.
For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; Romans 2:23 KJV
Gossip is a form of judgment that may come back on us
Gossip, in essence, is placing a judgment on someone else and then sharing it with others. The Bible says something interesting about judgment. It says if we judge others, we will be condemning ourselves. It also says that what we judge others of we do ourselves.
Therefore thou art inexcusable, O man, whosoever thou art that judgest: for wherein thou judgest another, thou condemnest thyself; for thou that judgest doest the same things. Romans 2:1 KJV
Gossiping may be a distraction from our personal struggles
Sometimes the enemy tricks us into becoming hyper-aware of other people’s faults and shortcomings. He’ll get us so wrapped up in them that our attention becomes consumed by them. Yet the enemy knows that if we cast the judgment on another person and then spread that through gossip, it will make it much harder to see similar sin issues in our own life. Now it’s become an insurmountable sin in our eyes and in the eyes of others, and the pride we’ve built up in judgment will make it very difficult to face our own shortcomings.
Judge not, that ye be not judged. 2 For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again. 3 And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye? 4 Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and, behold, a beam [is] in thine own eye? 5 Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother’s eye. Matthew 7:1-5 KJV
Shed a positive light in a dark place
We need to catch the enemy at his game. The Bible has clear instructions for how to face someone if we see that they are overtaken by a fault. And it’s not to tell others!
Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted. Galatians 6:1 KJV
That spirit of meekness recognizes that we are humans too and susceptible to the same snares of the enemy. God wants us to come alongside our brothers and sisters in compassion, care for, support each other, and lead each other to the love, grace, and mercy of God. If we see someone else struggle or hear of another’s struggles, we need to guard our hearts against a spirit of bitterness and offense so that we can stop murder with the tongue before it even has an opportunity.
Looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble [you], and thereby many be defiled. Hebrews 12:15 KJV
Be the difference between positive and negative gossip
Let’s ask God to fill our hearts and minds with His thoughts of love, grace, and mercy. Let’s practice speaking life and coming alongside each other in our struggles to build each other up and strengthen each other in the Lord. If you’ve recognized any of the snares that lead to gossip in your life, simply repent to God for it and ask Him to help you overcome in that area and to renew your mind with His Word and His love.
This is a perfect summation of how God tells us to care for and treat one another. This scripture is the antidote to gossip and slander, promoting God’s positive perspective over the enemy’s negative accusations:
Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering; 13 Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also [do] ye. 14 And above all these things [put on] charity (unconditional love), which is the bond of perfectness. 15 And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful. 16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. 17 And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, [do] all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him. Colossians 3:12-17 KJV
I look forward to enjoying the fruit of love, peace, righteousness, and joy with you as we learn how to grow together in a healthy Body of Christ.
Pastor Donna Wright
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