When I was a little girl, a popular TV show had a segment where a group of girls sang a song that went something like this "You'll never catch one of us repeating gossip...so you'd better be sure and listen close the first time!" Hee-Haw. Made us laugh every time we saw it.
It's not so funny being the victim of gossip, though. Can you relate??
God makes it very clear that He hates gossip. He lists it among murder and pride and lying in Proverbs 6:16-19 --
There are six things the Lord hates – no, seven things he detests: haughty eyes, a lying tongue, hands that kill the innocent, a heart that plots evil, feet that race to do wrong, a false witness who pours out lies, a person who sows discord among brothers.
The dictionary defines gossip as "idle talk or rumor, especially about the personal or private affairs of others". OK, so what's "idle talk"? Since Scripture warns us about such, we should know what it is.
|But I say to you that for every idle word men may speak, they will give account of it in the day of judgment. Matthew 12:36|
Gulp. This sounds serious indeed. And it is. Gossip, or idle talk, consists of things said about other people that are not profitable to the subject, the hearer, or the speaker.
Gossip is sometimes lies sprinkled with some truth. Words that cause the hearer to think less of the person being "discussed" . Words that destroy relationships. Murder reputations. Other times, the juicy morsels are all lies. And irreparable damage is done. But sometimes, gossip consists of things that are true but would have been better left unsaid. Words that are not profitable for the one being discussed. Secrets shared that should have never been disclosed.
Take a look at these verses with me:
Proverbs 16:28, A troublemaker stirs up dissension, and a gossip separates close friends.
A man who lacks judgment derides his neighbor, but a man of understanding holds his tongue. A gossip betrays a confidence, but a trustworthy man keeps a secret Proverbs 11:12-13.
I've done it. Maybe you have, too. Shared some information that was of no benefit to the hearer or the subject. It's almost comical how we do it. "Did you hear that..." or "I don't know if this is right but I heard..." My personal UNfavorite is the one thinly disguised as a prayer request - "I know you'll want to be praying about this....". Super spiritual for sure.
I don't know why we are tempted to do it. When we do, we have fallen prey to the deception that such "sharing" will be beneficial to US. That by tearing someone else down, we will look bigger. But that's the biggest lie of all. We not only do damage to others with our gossipy words, but we also destroy our own selves.
Maybe we will be motivated to curb our gossipy tongue when we remember the truth of Proverbs 18:21 -
Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruits
We will enjoy the fruit of life-giving words. Or we will reap the consequences of death-inducing words.
My Mama says it this way "What goes around, comes around."
Amen, Mama. Amen.