Why We Should Avoid Gossip
Three reasons we should avoid gossip in our conversations with others.
All of us have done it, and it is a constant temptation: gossiping about others. In putting others down (which is what gossip is), we seek to elevate self, show off our knowledge of inside information, and injure those who are an irritant to us. The dictionary defines gossip as "casual or unconstrained conversation or reports about other people, typically involving details that are not confirmed as being true." Gossip is found in the workplace, between friends, in the church and wherever people are located. But why should gossip be banished from our conversations?
First | Gossip displeases God.
Paul addresses what Christian conversation ought to look like in Ephesians 4:29. "Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear." Sharing information about others that is corrupting to another person is not edifying. Even negative news that we may know to be true, shared with uninvolved parties does not build others up according to their needs. Often, we use corrupting talk as a means to shame others and build ourselves up.
Second | Gossip is often character assassination.
Think about it. We would never assassinate another person, but we have assassinated the character of others when we have engaged in gossip. Assassinating someone's character creates negative perceptions by those around them who often accept the gossip they have heard as truth. And all too often gossip grows as it is shared until the real situation (which we are probably not privy to anyway) does not reflect reality. In essence, we are trafficking the sin at the misfortune of others. And, unfortunately, it is often not even entirely true, but only a partial truth and a judgment about the motivation of others.
Third | Gossip is destructive to relationships.
I have never seen gossip not adversely affect relationships between people. This is true in marriage, families, business, politics, and the church. Think of the supervisor or boss who is the subject of gossip by others. Do you think they are not affected? Or consider the pastor who does things exactly your way, and is the subject of comical ridicule, do you think he is not impacted by your private conversations? Or the man person who has just experienced a tragic fail, do you think your gossip is helpful for him? Those who traffic in gossip are like arsonists who start fires and then moving on to watch the victim deal with the consequences of the burn.
But the bottom line is that gossip is destructive on many levels and often impossible for the subject of our gossip to change the perceptions shared. In gossiping about them, we wound others and create distance in relationships. But a right word has the power to encourage, heal, support, and mend the brokenhearted.
Proverbs 26:20 reads, "For lack of wood the fire goes out, and where there is no whisperer, quarreling ceases."
Vince Miller is an author and speaker to men around the world on topics that include manhood, masculinity, fatherhood, mentorship, and leadership. He has authored 18 different books for men and is hosted on major video platforms like RightNow Media and Faithlife TV. He hosts a weekly podcast, writes weekly articles, and provides daily thoughts from God's Word all just for men. He is a 27-year ministry veteran and the founder of Resolute a Men's Ministry Platform that provides bible studies aimed at building better men found at www.beresolute.org. See his latest study Men & Marriage: Overcoming 6 Unspoken Tensions.