Whoever winks the eye causes trouble, and a babbling fool will come to ruin.
The mouth of the righteous is a fountain of life, but the mouth of the wicked conceals violence.
Hatred stirs up strife, but love covers all offenses.
The one who conceals hatred has lying lips, and whoever utters slander is a fool.
When words are many, transgression is not lacking, but whoever restrains his lips is prudent.
The tongue of the righteous is choice silver; the heart of the wicked is of little worth.
The lips of the righteous feed many, but fools die for lack of sense (Prov 10:10-12, 18-21).
Do not speak evil against one another, brothers. The one who speaks against a brother or judges his brother, speaks evil against the law and judges the law. But if you judge the law, you are not a doer of the law but a judge. There is only one lawgiver and judge, he who is able to save and to destroy. But who are you to judge your neighbor? (James 4:11-12).
And he said, “What comes out of a person is what defiles him. For from within, out of the heart of man, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, coveting, wickedness, deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride, foolishness. All these evil things come from within, and they defile a person,” (Mark 7:20-23).
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. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you (Eph 4:29-32).
You are of your father the devil, and your will is to do your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks out of his own character, for he is a liar and the father of lies (John 8:44).
Why do pastors harp on gossip so much?
Because the Bible does, too, yet it remains something that Christians seem to be tremendously comfortable with. Churches are full of whispers of, “Can you believe it?”
There’s obviously a huge disconnect going on here.
Did you know that one of the words the Bible uses for someone who gossips is diabolos? That word should look familiar: English borrowed that word, altered it a bit, and made it devil.
The devil has that name because he slanders us. He is the one who accuses us. He is the enemy of our souls. Literally the mortal enemy of every human alive, who wants us all to die and stay dead.
Slanderers are doing the work of Satan. Literally: satan is the Hebrew word for diabolos.
I’ll say this again: Satan = Diabolos = Devil = Slanderer. They all mean the same thing.
That’s how serious gossip is. And that’s why we pastors are always talking about it.
So what can you do?
First, recognize just how deadly this sin is. It’s something that people don’t seem to take very seriously. Change that record in your head.
Gossip is literally speaking death. It steals life. It creates strife. It kills relationships and even people. You cannot afford to take this lightly.
Second, think about what you say before you say it. There are times you have to talk about things that people have done or something like that. We all understand that.
But before you start talking about “can you believe what this guy did?” ask yourself this simple question:
Does this person need to hear this?
Is what you are about to share going to be constructive for the person you’re sharing it with—and for the person you’re sharing about? Or is it going to damage their relationship with that person?
Are you going to kill that relationship?
“Well, that relationship is doomed anyway,” you might find yourself protesting in the moment. But then ask yourself this: Do I really want to be part of killing it? Seriously, do you want to be a part of the reason for that relationship dying? Why?
Third, speak life instead.
You all know the proverb, “If you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all.” There will be times when you can’t say something nice about a person. Choosing not to speak, to hold your tongue, is usually the best course there!
But very often, you can say something nice about them.
You can choose to speak life, not death. You can choose to build up that person rather than tearing them down.
I remember my mom talking about one of her aunts. She said that her aunt “always had something nice to say about people.”
I wish that could be said about me. Don’t you wish people said that about you?
It can happen!
Change the dialog in your head. Take what you say about people seriously. Think about what you are going to say about someone before you speak. Hold your tongue if necessary. Choose to speak life!
All views expressed on this blog are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect the view of Chi Alpha Campus Ministries, U.S.A., U.S. Missions, and The General Council of the Assemblies of God.