"There are six things the Lord hates, seven that are detestable to him Ö a false witness who pours out lies and a man who stirs up dissension among brothers."1
Somebody has said that most of us wouldn't think of stealing a man's transportation but think nothing of stealing his reputation, which is what gossip does.
Unfortunately, with gossip, once it's out, it's out. And like the ever widening concentric circles of a pebble thrown into a pool, its effects can keep reaching out into ever widening circles. And it can't be taken back any more than one can "unring a bell."
Gossip can come in many forms besides saying negative things about someone. When a person's name comes up all we need to say is, "Oh. Him?" in a tone of voice that immediately casts a doubt on that person. And we would deny vigorously that we ever gossiped about that person!
Gossip is not wrong because the Bible says so but rather, like any sin, the Bible says it's wrong because it is damaging to human personality. Remember, too, that God listed the sin of gossip with other sins such as homosexuality, evil, greed, depravity, envy, murder, deceit, malice, and slander.2 A sobering thought.
True, we need to be warned against dangerous people. On the other hand it can be very difficult to discern what needs to be said about another and what is malicious gossip. With God's wisdom and help, let us strive to avoid destructive gossip at all cost.
Suggested prayer: "Dear God, some gossip can be such a juicy morsel in my mouth. Help me to develop a real bad taste for itóboth for speaking it and for listening to it. Thank you for hearing and answering my prayer. Gratefully, in Jesus' name, amen."
1. Proverbs 6:16,19 (NIV).
2. Romans 1:24-32.