by Brandy Webb
Most of us have been victims of it, and most of us have probably caused it, a stink with our tongues in the form of gossip. It is so commonplace that we probably do not even realize we are gossiping sometimes. We just think, “I’m just telling someone what happened.”
The question is, are we more prone to tell others about negative “happenings” or positive ones? Here is the hard truth, if we aren’t willing to say exactly what we are whispering in front of the person that we are “discussing,” then it is most likely gossip.
We are so bombarded daily by gossip that I think we have become a little desensitized. It is everywhere, the news, internet, radio, magazines, etc… Gossip causes their ratings and circulations to rise. People are drawn to gossip. It is like a sweet fruit and everyone wants to take a bite; the only problem is, once it is swallowed, it loses its sweetness and becomes bitter.
Our tongue may be a small part of our body, “but it makes great boasts. Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark. The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole body” (James 3:5-6). We need to guard our mouths. If what we are about to say isn’t for edification, we probably should just keep silent. We are to live in this world but not be like the world. We are to be different, lights in the darkness. This means we better make for sure we aren’t destroying ourselves by being busybodies, backbiters, secret tellers—in other words, gossipers.
Gossip only leads to strife and discord. Do you remember the six things God hates and the seventh is an abomination to Him? “Haughty eyes, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood; a heart that devises wicked schemes, feet that are swift in running to mischief, a false witness who utters lies, and he who sows discord among brothers” (Prov 6:16-19). Sowing discord is an abomination to God, and isn’t that what gossip’s real intention is? Without gossip, quarrels cease just like removing wood from a fire stops the blaze (Prov 26:20).
Maybe the wise motto, “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all,” is what we should practice. I don’t know how many times the Bible states that a wise man is mostly silent. Like this one: “When there are many words, transgression is unavoidable, but he who restrains his lips is wise” (Prov 10:19). Or better yet, even a fool is seen as wise when he/she is silent (Prov 17:28).
We want to follow God and not the ways of this world. We are to be set apart and wise. We do not want to be given over to an abased mind (Romans 1:28-32). Therefore, we should strive to guard our lips so that we do not sin with our tongue (Ps 39:1).
I know that it is easy to be sucked into the temptation of gossip. Yet, when the temptation arises, God will show you a way of escape if you are willing to look for it because He will never let us be tempted beyond what we can handle (1 Cor 10:13). Gossip does not solve anything. In fact, it just makes a problem even worse. It is one reason there is so much strife and contention in our world. People do not know how to guard their lips, but since we who strive to follow God have His Holy Spirit, we can, with His power, learn to bridle our tongues. We need to set the example.
Therefore, let us strive to not let “any corrupt speech proceed out of [our mouths], but only what is good for building others up as the need may be, that it may give grace to those who hear” (Eph 4:29).