You would never imagine that church people in a church environment would gossip right? Well today I’m going to reflect on how deadly gossip is and that it is everywhere. I’m sure everyone knows the pain of gossip. Whether you know what its like to be gossiped about or you have seen the negative impact of gossip. I have also seen how churches are divided by gossip. It happens to all of us because we have accepted it as a part of life. Often we may hear these sentences “hey you wont believe what I heard” or “what’s up with so and so” and “hey I’m not supposed to say anything but”. Why is there so much gossip? Simply, we cannot resist it. In Proverbs 18:8 it says “The words of a gossip are like choice morsels; they go down to a man’s inmost parts”. Meaning they hit the spot, and choice morsels are things that cannot be resisted. Like, the yummy McDonalds nuggets, wanting more or eating one chip and then another and another. We know its going to give me a stomach ache and its not good for me and we wont eat another but we do. It is the same with gossip. I wondered to myself other than gossip being so hard to resist why do we gossip? Well, Fr. Anthony Messiah comes up with three reasons why people gossip, that I can agree is true.
- We are miserable people. So it makes us feel better when someone else is more miserable than us.
- We think it makes us look important, we like to feel like we know everything and are the queens/kings of information.
- Our lives are boring and there really isn’t anything better to do or talk about.
In Romans chapter 1:28-32, the passage describes people who refused to worship God and resisted God, so this is what happened to them, “they were filled with all manner of unrighteousness, evil, covetousness, malice. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, maliciousness. They are GOSSIPS, slanders, haters of god…”. Interesting enough, this passage includes gossip. Our goal is to make our words productive, life-giving and building up. I once heard that everything said must be true but not everything true must be said. In other words, gossip is about what’s your business and not your business. Gossip is simply defined as passing on information when you are neither part of the problem nor the solution. For example, when you are talking about another person’s looks are you talking to help them out or are you just talking just to talk. Gossip is getting caught up in business that is not your own. In 1 Timothy 5:13 it defines gossip as “wandering about from house to house, and not only idle but also gossips and busybodies, saying things which they ought not”. Whether its true or not true, that is not a factor, that is called a rumor.
The first victim of gossip is the person being spoken about. They will be damaged and injured. The second victim is the speaker. Nobody admires a gossip. People love to listen to you but nobody will ever talk to you because they know that the way you easily talk about others you can easily talk about them. Nobody will ever be real with you but instead they will be on guard with you. Certain people have these loose lips, everyone sees it and it doesn’t help your reputation. In Proverbs 20:19 “whoever goes about slandering reveals secrets; therefore, do not associate with a simple babbler”.
The last victim is the listener. Gossip is like second hand smoking. It sticks to you. Even though you didn’t gossip and just listened you will still be defiled by it. I can predict that everyone hates gossip and doesn’t want to be part of a gossiping population. Maybe everyone wants to get rid of the gossip but doesn’t know how. Well I’m here to tell you that you can kill gossip with ONE question. The next time you hear someone gossiping you can reply with the direct question “why are you telling me this?” or the nice question “have you had a chance to talk to them about this? If not, then you say “well maybe you should start there”. The next solution is to remember that what you permit is what you promote. So, if you are hurt that someone is gossiping about you, then ask yourself if you have ever gossiped about them or someone else? It is like what the golden rule teaches us “do unto others like you would like done unto you”. So if you gossip about others expect it to be done to you. Also, Socrates came up with a simple way to end gossip. He said if its not true, good or useful then what you are about to say is better off left unsaid. I think another great way to end gossip is looking inside our hearts. Is it filled with envy, bitterness, jealousy or hate towards that person. Because what’s in your heart will come across in words. If in your heart you have the opposite like love, unity and togetherness then it will manifest itself in the way you speak. Words have great power as we seen when God created the universe by his word. Also, the gospel is proclaimed by words. In Matthew 12:34 it says “for by your words you will be justified and by your words you will be condemned”. Our words have power to do great things and gain salvation but they can also kill, and lead us away from salvation. What you say is a big deal. My challenge for us all is to declare a gossip free zone in our life. Make it a gossip free zone inside the church and outside the church in our homes, text messages, when we are out for dinner, and our social media because I know all of us hate it and don’t want it. All it takes is one brave person to say “why are you telling me this”. DECLARE A GOSSIP FREE ZONE EVERYWHERE. We can only imagine what life, churches, offices, or our home would look like if there was no gossip. Let’s dream together and help make it a reality.