"For such is the weakness of human nature, alas, that evil is often more readily believed and spoken of another than good. But perfect men do not easily believe every tale that is told them, for they know that man's nature is prone to evil, and his words to deception." (Thomas a Kempis)
Gossip is so destructive. It can destroy reputations, friendships, families, churches, and unity in the Body of Christ. Think before you speak about another person; stop the conversation when someone gossips to you about another person, realizing that you should "never trust your tongue when your heart is bitter" (Samuel Hurwitt). Stop before you speak and consider whether or not your words bring glory to the Lord.
Before passing on or discussing negative information about another person ask yourself these questions:
- Is what I'm saying completely true?
- Is what I’m saying colored by any anger or bitterness
- Am I seeking for someone to agree with my position?
- Am I assuming false motives?
- Is what I'm saying kind?
- Is what I'm saying God-honoring?
- Is the person I’m speaking to part of the solution (a pastor, parent, or other person in authority)?
- What are my motives in passing on this information?
Whoever slanders his neighbor in secret, him will I put to silence; whoever has haughty eyes and a proud heart, him will I not endure. (Psalm 101:5)
With his mouth the godless destroys his neighbor, but through knowledge the righteous escape... A gossip betrays a confidence, but a trustworthy man keeps a secret. (Proverbs 11: 9;13)
He who covers over an offense promotes love, but whoever repeats the matter separates close friends. (Proverbs 17:9)
A gossip betrays a confidence; so avoid a man who talks too much. (Proverbs 20:19)
This isn't something I've mastered. Unfortunately, it's something that I struggle with on a regular basis. But near the beginning of this year (and since then) the Lord has really been revealing to me the destructive nature of slander and gossip, and the importance of being trustworthy. I've also realized that listening to gossip is just as sinful as speaking gossip. It can change your opinion of someone, and the information you're hearing might not even be true. You don't know circumstances, perspectives, motives or reasons.
The one who states his case first seems right, until the other comes and examines him. (Proverbs 18:17)
We can also be sure that someone who gossips to us, will also gossip about us. It’s tempting to listen, but remember it affects your very soul.
The words of a talebearer are like tasty trifles, and they go down into the inmost body. (Proverbs 18:8)
Please, please, avoid gossip; don’t speak it and don’t listen to it. As Christians, we must be trustworthy. Let us be like David when he said, "May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, O LORD, my Rock and my Redeemer." (Psalm 19:14)
As the old saying goes, "If you have nothing nice to say, then don't say anything at all."
There is one who speaks like the piercings of a sword, but the tongue of the wise promotes health. (Proverbs 12:18)