What Gossip Reveals: Unraveling 3 Truths About Your Heart

Have you heard about…?

Did you know that…?

I just thought you needed to know that…

Most of us have experienced at some level the painful sting of a gossip session that was about you.  Suddenly, people that you were just friends with a couple of hours earlier have grown cold and distant.

From the pain in the heart of teenager who has been told the gossip that is going around about them, to the painful sting of a person who had so much gossip spoken about them that their position of service was changed, or the ministry leader who is left broken over gossip that has destroyed their reputation.

What is Gossip?

If we are going to speak about gossip, we should probably take a little bit of time to define gossip.

Proverbs 18:6–8 (NASB95) – 6 A fool’s lips bring strife, And his mouth calls for blows. 7 A fool’s mouth is his ruin, And his lips are the snare of his soul. 8 The words of a whisperer are like dainty morsels, And they go down into the innermost parts of the body.

 In the book of Proverbs, we see the word whisperer used to describe this idea.  The literal definition of a whisperer means to back-bite, to complain about, to grumble about, or criticize a person behind their back.

So, to clean this definition up a little bit, I like to define gossip as, Gossip is saying something about someone else whether true or false for the purpose of changing someone else’s opinion about that person.

No matter how you define gossip it is important to understand that gossip is sin.  Gossip is evil.  Gossip is a real problem.  And in order for us to function in unity as instructed by the Lord, gossip must stop.

Gossip is Not!

Gossip is not about observing a concerning problem or sin in a persons life and going and confronting it.  Gossip is not seeking out a person who has wronged you and seeking to find restoration with that person by pointing out the problems.

In fact, this is what God would want you to do. Matthew 18:15 – If your brother sins, go and show him his fault in private; if he listens to you, you have won your brother.

And Matthew 18 also says that if that person will not repent and restoration cannot be achieved one on one, then you should take a second person with you to seek that restoration.  Again, this is not filling in the second person on all the dirt you have against that person and then doing nothing about it.  This is always in the spirit of seeking restoration or reconciliation.

3 Truths Your Gossip Says About You:

1.Where gossip abounds, humility is lacking!

Often in the mind of the gossip there is a sense of superiority over the person being talked about.  So, because of my superiority in whatever aspect of life I am being critical about, I feel that I have the right to look down on the person in question.

I gossip about the kids in my class because I am better than the rest.  I gossip about the coach because I know more about that sport than the coach.  I gossip about someone’s looks because I have reached a level of beautified perfection.  I gossip about another’s flaws because I believe I am without flaw.

This pride in thinking is believing a lie created in our mind that quickly forgets the grace that is regularly applied to you.

For through the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think more highly of himself than he ought to think; but to think so as to have sound judgment, as God has allotted to each a measure of faith.” (Romans 12:3, NASB95)

But He gives a greater grace. Therefore, it says, “God is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble.”” (James 4:6, NASB95)

For if anyone thinks he is something when he is nothing, he deceives himself.” (Galatians 6:3, NASB95)

Once I have run through the gauntlet of realizing all the grace and mercy that God has applied to me, I am left with a heart of gratitude and not of criticism.

As I see all the sin and shame that God has taken from my life, I am left in a much more sympathetic approach to those around me.  Regardless of the content of my gossip, I must first forget the forgiveness of Savior that chose to rescue me amid my sinfulness.

How can I be critical of someone else when only by God’s grace was I able to be redeemed?

Lord, protect me from the prideful sin of gossip!

2.Where gossip abounds, trust in God is missing!

I need to tell you this just so you are aware of…

Now before you say that this is a dangerous position to silence the reporting of sinful activity or protecting people from a potentially dangerous situation, let me remind you that according to God’s Word there are proper channels to do this without gossiping.  Yes, you should confront a person in sin.  Yes, you should report a crime to those who are in a position to deal with that crime.  Yes, you should use wisdom and discernment on who you allow to influence those you love.  No, you do not need to run to tell everyone about every flaw within every single person.

What about if the person has hurt me?  Do not seek your own revenge?

What if the person is evil? Handle the situation appropriately and show the uncommon love of Christ towards them as you let God work.

What if they have become enemies to me?  Pray for God to work in their hearts and continue to love them.

Never pay back evil for evil to anyone. Respect what is right in the sight of all men. If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men. Never take your own revenge, beloved, but leave room for the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord. “But if your enemy is hungry, feed him, and if he is thirsty, give him a drink; for in so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.” Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” (Romans 12:17–21, NASB95)

“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ “But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven; for He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.” (Matthew 5:43–45, NASB95)

Often in gossip you are revealing that you trust the power of your tongue over the promises of God.

Yes, people will wrong you, but you do not need to out-wrong them in order to win.  Do you believe God’s promises?  Do not seek your own vengeance!  Feed your enemy!  Pray for those who wrong you!  Do not hate your enemy, but instead love your enemy.

When we respond to interpersonal problems in a biblical way, we communicate loudly to those around us that we do not have to gossip because we trust God’s promises to be true.

Lord, help me trust you when I am critical of others.

 3.Where gossip abounds, compassion is fleeing!

When I gossip about someone else, I forsake all the principles of compassion for that person.  I stop seeing them as someone I am to care for and start seeing them as a roadblock to my happiness.

I forget the very words of Jesus who said that I should love my neighbor as myself.

Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves;” (Philippians 2:3, NASB95)

Jesus answered, “The foremost is, ‘Hear, O Israel! The Lord our God is one Lord; and you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ “The second is this, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.”” (Mark 12:29–31, NASB95)

Our mindset to people we encounter should be very different than the mindset of those who have no relationship with Christ.  We should be growing to see others from the mindset that Christ demonstrated.  When Christ humbly left His rightful place to be made in the likeness as a bondservant and to dwell among us, His rebellious creation, He showed us the attitude that we must have in life.  Compassion for others allows us to humbly be made lower than we deserve to be to serve those who are not worthy of our service.

When I gossip about others, I am loudly announcing that I am not there to serve others, but rather to advance my position.  When I gossip about others, I do not love others as myself.  When I gossip about others, I forget the example of humility that Christ set for us.

Lord, help me to see others as You see them.

Photo by Quino Al on Unsplash

Johnny Kjaer
Johnny is married to Tori. They have 4 children Leif, Tryggve, Kjirsti and Hroarr. He has been a part of the youth ministry at Faith since his internship began in 2010. He served as the Pastor of Student Ministries from 2013-2023 and now serves as the Pastor of Faith East Community Ministries. Johnny is an ACBC certified counselor. He also serves the church by directing the Lafayette Living Nativity.