I am the first to admit that I am 100% guilty of gossiping about others. While it is so tempting to give in when others are talking bad about another person, we must learn how to stop gossiping.
Gossip can ruin every part of your life. Trust me, I have been on both ends and it always turns out ugly. I’ve told people secrets only to find out a month later that it had been revealed to everyone. I’ve also been the one who couldn’t resist sharing a juicy bit of information, even when it meant I was going against someone’s confidentiality. And yes, to my shame, I have even found a little bit of joy in doing so because for a moment my life seems better than someone else’s.
What is gossip?
“If you can’t say something nice about someone, don’t say anything at all.” We have all heard it yet we still continue to gossip. We justify what we say behind others backs because it is something we would say to their face, right?
Let’s be honest, we all know what gossip is. None of us have ever wanted someone else to talk behind our backs. It is the most awful feeling when you find out someone has broken your confidence or your trust in doing so. Yet it is so easy to be tempted to spread that juicy bit of gossip about someone else. Perhaps, like me, you have experienced the instant gratification of hearing about someone else’s problems.
According to dictionary.com, the definition of gossip is as follows: “casual or unconstrained conversation or reports about other people, typically involving details that are not confirmed as being true.” It involves telling a story, whether it is true or not, about someone when they are not there to defend themselves. It defames, dishonors or otherwise hurts their character. It downright goes against everything God tells us to be.
Bible verses about gossip and drama
Gossip never turns out well for anyone. Every time we gossip we hurt everyone involved: the one speaking, the one hearing, and the one being gossiped about. We can often have a tendency to lean in on a conversation when someone is dishing dirt on another person. I am totally guilty of this and often lean in further rather than turning my ear the other way or gently correcting the one who is spreading the gossip.
Recently, I read these bible verses about gossip and drama and my heart immediately knew I needed to make a change.
A contrary man spreads conflict, and a gossip separates close friends. Proverbs 16:28.
A contrary man is someone who distorts speech and a gossip is someone who grumbles (HCSB Study Bible).
The one who lives honestly, practices righteousness, and acknowledges the truth in his heart – who does not slander with his tongue, who does not harm his friend or discredit his neighbor. Psalm 15:2-3.
Slander and destroying others comes from a heart of hatred and desire to harm others. The truth of God is not just something to be proclaimed, it must reside in a person’s heart.
A gossip goes around revealing a secret but a trustworthy person keeps a confidence. Proverbs 11:13.
A gossip spreads slander.
I will destroy anyone who secretly slanders his neighbor; I cannot tolerate anyone with haughty eyes or an arrogant heart. Psalm 101:5.
Brothers, do not complain about one another so that you will not be judged. Look, the judge stands at the door! James 5:9.
How to Deal with Gossip Biblically
Our words have power. They can either build someone up or tear them down. At the end of the day, gossip is really a pride and heart issue. Let’s turn to Ephesians 4:29 where Paul tells us how to deal with gossip biblically. He offers an example of what living the new life means in the context of a relationship with others.
No foul language is to come from your mouth, but only what is good for building up someone in need, so that it gives grace to those who hear. And don’t grieve God’s Holy Spirit. You were sealed by Him for the day of redemption. Ephesians 4:29.
Gossip is so hurtful and destructive that Paul goes so far as to forbid it. At the base of Paul’s command is a God-centered spiritual foundation. He is telling us to watch the way we talk and say only things that help, each word a beautiful gift that encourages others.
How To Stop Gossiping
We must learn to turn down the invitation to talk negatively about others or even just on the other end listening to what is being said. Try changing the subject when a friend, family member or co-worker wants to have a gossiping session.
“It is the Holy Spirit’s job to convict, God’s job to judge, and my job to love.” Billy Graham.
Ask them tactfully to start talking about something else. Be honest and tell them that you are trying to break yourself of this habit. It can be awkward but it will get you out of the situation you never wanted to be in the first place and can help them think more carefully about the words they are saying.
Overcoming the Spirit of Gossip
We all probably played the game telephone as kids. Someone whispers something to the person sitting next to them and they do the same and so on. By the end of the line, what the first person said has usually been so twisted up that it isn’t even near the truth anymore. This is what gossip looks like, the rumor mill turns and spreads. Secrets and assumed secrets are what fuel gossip. It is usually hearsay, inaccurate, creates suspicion and divides people.
Now if any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives to all generously and without criticizing, and it will be given to him. James 1:5.
Gossip is offensive to the Holy Spirit and causes Him to grieve. If you really love Jesus, why would you want to gossip in the first place? Only when we put Jesus first can we truly ask for forgiveness and overcome the spirit of gossip.
Prayer for forgiveness for gossiping
Only when we pray for forgiveness for gossiping and repent to God can we even begin to overcome the spirit of gossip. Ask God to reveal your desire to gossip. When God convicts, He gets specific with us about our sin. But His kindness and compassion towards us lead to dependence on Him and true heart change.
“Lord, thank you for your endless mercy and grace, even when we go against you. Help me see this sin for how hurtful and destructive it can be. Lord, turn my heart towards you. Transform me more into the image of Christ and fill me with your love so that my desire to gossip becomes less and less. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.”
Like I said above, gossip never does either party any good. It is hurtful and can tear friendships apart. As a body of believers, we must be more diligent about refusing to gossip. Let’s step up our game and build each other up in truth and love.