“Did you see what Sheila was wearing at church this morning?”
“Did you about what Tom did to his wife?”
I can remember many times people have tried to start conversations like that with me. Even worse, I remember starting conversations like that myself. Gossip is that “secret” sin that people try to conceal with superficial concern and erroneous motives but really it does nothing but stir up conflict because it comes from an impure place.
Gossiping has two sides to it; first gossiping is when you say something that is true but with the wrong motives causing them to look bad to others. Secondly, gossiping is sharing information with others who were not meant to know such personal details even if without evil intent.
Now let us look at God’s perspective on this gossiping. Proverbs 26:20 tells us, “Without wood fire goes out; without a gossip a conflict dies down.” When you choose to not listen to gossip or to not spread it you help quench the problem. But when we listen to or partake in gossiping our words do nothing but add fuel to an already burning fire.
Next, Proverbs 20:19 clearly warns us that, “A gossip [talebearer, slander] goes around telling secrets; so avoid anyone who talks too much.” When someone tells you something in confidence do not share it with anyone else. If they want others to know their business let them be the ones to share it. Your job is to listen, support and pray for them. Compromising that trust and spreading gossip to others that are not involved create a bigger problem and and that is something God hates.
God wants to use a mouth that is not suited for the gutter, but suited for grace. [click-to-tweet]
Here are 20 verses to help you overcome that nasty spirit of gossip. When you feel it coming on meditate on these scriptures and hold your tongue!
- Let the word of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Your sight, O Lord, my strength and My Redeemer. (Psalm 19:17)
- “I will guard my ways, lest I sin with my tongue.” (Psalm 39:1)
- Set a guard, O Lord, over my mouth; keep watch over the door of my lips. (Psalm 141:3)
- Put away from you a deceitful mouth, and put perverse lips far from you. (Proverbs 4:24)
- In the multitude of words sin is not lacking, but he who restrains his lips is wise. The tongue of the righteous is choice silver. (Proverbs 10:19-20)
- Look also at ships: although they are so large and are driven by fierce winds, they are turned by a very small rudder wherever the pilot desires. Even so the tongue is a little member and boasts great things. (James 3:4-5)
- But no man can tame the tongue. It is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison. With it we bless our God and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in the similitude of God. Out of the same mouth proceed blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not to be so. (James 3:8-10)
- For “He who would love life And see good days, Let him refrain his tongue from evil, And his lips from speaking deceit. (1 Peter 3:10)
- His mouth is full of cursing and deceit and oppression; Under his tongue is trouble and iniquity. (Psalm 10:7)
- Lord, who may abide in Your tabernacle? Who may dwell in Your holy hill? He who walks uprightly, And works righteousness, And speaks the truth in his heart; He who does not backbite with his tongue. (Psalm 15:1-3)
- Why do you boast in evil, O mighty man? . . . Your tongue devises destruction, Like a sharp razor, working deceitfully. You love evil more than good, Lying rather than speaking righteousness. (Psalm 52:1-3)
- Whoever secretly slanders his neighbor, Him I will destroy; The one who has a haughty look and a proud heart, Him I will not endure. (Psalm 101:5)
- Deliver my soul, O Lord, from lying lips And from a deceitful tongue. (Psalm 120:2)
- The mouth of the righteous brings forth wisdom, But the perverse tongue will be cut out. (Proverbs 10:31)
- Let your speech always be with grace, seasoned with salt, that you may know how you ought to answer each one. (Colossians 4:6)
- Do not be rash with your mouth, And let not your heart utter anything hastily before God. For God is in heaven, and you on earth; Therefore let your words be few. (Ecclesiastes 5:2)
- The words of a talebearer are like tasty trifles, And they go down into the inmost body. (Proverbs 18:8)
- Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers. (Ephesians 4:29)
- The words of a wise man’s mouth are gracious, But the lips of a fool shall swallow him up. (Ecclesiastes 10:12)
- A talebearer reveals secrets, But he who is of a faithful spirit conceals a matter. (Proverbs 11:13)
Jesus put it this way. He told His followers, “Whatever you have spoken in the dark will be heard in the light, and what you have spoken in the ear in inner rooms will be proclaimed on the housetops” (Luke 12:3). As Believers we must recognize the power that is in the tongue. They have the power to tear others down and even grieve the Holy Spirit. But when our tongues line up with what God proclaims in His Word, we are on the right path.