By Matt Gioia
Have you heard the latest gossip? Oh, it’s all around us. It’s in the grocery stores, on TV, and at the workplace. But this post isn’t about all that; it’s about the one place you should never find gossip: the Church. I don’t think anybody would argue that gossip is wrong, but how wrong it is seems to be a matter of opinion. The thing is, the Bible calls us ambassadors of God. Ambassadors don’t give their opinions. They carry the words of their king. So let’s see what God says about gossip.
Proverbs 6:16-19 says, “These six things the Lord hates, yes, seven are an abomination to Him. A proud look, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked plans, feet that are swift in running to evil, a false witness who speaks lies, and one who sows discord among brethren [gossips]” (NKJV).
What really caught my attention in this passage was the word abomination. There isn’t a stronger word in the English language to convey God’s view of gossip. He hates it.
When we fail to take a stand against gossip, we essentially allow a thought to enter our minds unchecked. It then begins to grow, taking hold of every detail that could make it stronger. Gossip is a direct attack against someone’s character, and when allowed to enter your mind, it begins to taint the way you view that person. When we entertain gossip, we fail to realize that tearing someone down will not give you a step up—but it will cut you off at the knees.
Proverbs 26:22 says that “the words of a gossip are like choice morsels; they go down to a man’s inmost parts” (NIV). Gossip sinks deep into your heart, where it perverts and even causes you to question the truth.
The Bible says that where there is unity, God commands His blessing (see Psalm 133). Unity is a choice, and gossip is a direct assault on the heart of unity. As I said, it’s an attack against a person’s character, and that ploy is nothing new. Satan once convinced a third of the angels to follow him by attacking the character of God, and he used this same scheme against Eve in Eden. Most gossip, however, isn’t going to be whispered in your ear by the devil himself. It will probably come from a fellow brother or sister in Christ, and you might not even see it coming.
Question: So what does gossip look like in the Church?
Gossip often masquerades as concern. Does this conversation sound familiar?
Person 1: “We need to be praying for Pastor _____. He is going through a tough time.”
Person 2: “So how can I pray more specifically?”
Person 1: “Well, he is looking at purchasing some land, but it’s just not a good decision in this economy—and you know he just renovated the youth room and they barely use it.”
The line was just crossed. If you have a concern about an issue, a third party is not the right person to hear it. Take the issue directly to the person it concerns. Talk to them, not about them.
Question: What do I do if someone starts gossiping to me?
Let me answer your question with another question. Let’s say one of your coworkers walks up to you at the water cooler and asks, “Hey, you want to go shoot up some heroin after work?”
Would you think, Man, what should I say? I know using heroin is wrong but I’m not sure what to do. Maybe I’ll let him shoot up and I’ll
What about this scenario: “Hey, you want to watch some porn on our break?”
Would your response be, I know that I am not supposed to watch pornography, but I’m really not sure what to do right now?
I think you can see where I’m going with this. Let’s look at one more example. Suppose a co-worker asks, “Hey, what are you doing later tonight? I was thinking about murdering somebody. You in?”
Again, how would you respond? Would you waver back and forth about what you should say? Of course not! I am almost certain that in all of these scenarios, you would respond with a resounding, “No! What are you thinking?”
Your response signifies the way you view these acts. You consider them unthinkable; in fact, you might even call them abominations. Well, we need to see gossip from God’s perspective, because He calls it an abomination.
Remember, as Edmund Burke said, all it takes for evil to prevail in this world is for good people to do nothing. Don’t be a bystander to what can destroy unity. Our words are meant to heal, not steal. Take a stand against gossip and use your words to speak life and not death. You are an ambassador of the King, and our King doesn’t talk like that.