By Cougan Collins



What is gossip? It is negative unflattering words that when spread hurt the reputation of others. Sometimes gossip is made up out of thin air. Other times, only part of the story is true while many significant factors are left out thus leaving the wrong impression. Some gossip can be true but can serve no good purpose to pass it on to others. How does the Bible describe gossip? Godís Word often uses words like whispers, backbiters, and evil speaking (Rom. 1:29-32; 2 Cor.12:20; 1 Pet.1:1). But how serious is this behavior in Godís sight? Well, let us take a brief look at some truths about gossip and its spiritual


Why is whispering so detrimental? What are its fruits? First, whispering often causes strong friendships to dissolve (Prov.16:28). Can you imagine how this would interrupt spiritual unity and progress in a congregation if the conflicting friends were brethren? We must carefully measure everything we say for the consequences can be powerfully negative. Also, backbiting can feel like the ďpiercing of a sword.Ē (Prov. 12:18).


Has unfair critical talk about you gotten back to you? It hurts deeply! This is not what Jesus has taught us to do. He commands us to treat others in the way we would like to be treated. (Mt. 7:12). Loose speech not only damages the reputation of others, it diminishes the usefulness of the gossiper. The only one who wins in this scenario is Satan.


Since Godís Word offers such serious warnings against whispering, why do people do it? There are many reasons people participate in loose talk. Letís just look at a few of them. Some pass on negative information either because they are unaware of the truth or unconcerned about its authenticity. Paul said he was slandered when people reported he taught it was ok to do wrong as long as good was accomplished (Rom. 3:8). Though he did not teach this, it no doubt hurt his influence with some.


Envy is another reason people will gossip. Some at Corinth were jealous of Paulís authority and influence over the brethren there. Therefore, they strongly criticized his right and ability to lead Godís people (2 Cor. 10:10-11). Paul warned those backbiters that he would deal with them when he came back to Corinth.


Finally, some just like meddling in other peopleís affairs. Itís exciting to them. Peter strongly cautions us not to be busybodies (1 Pet.4:15). He puts this sin in the same category as being a thief, an evil doer, or a murderer. God disapproves of careless speech.


So, let us be careful not to be gossips. We donít have to tell people everything we know about someone even if what we are saying is true. We must learn to be wise with the information we hear and ask ourselves, ďWhat purpose would it serve to pass this information on? Will it help the person be spoken about or will it be hurtful? Would I want someone telling others this information if it were about me?Ē Questions like these will help us determine what we should pass on and what we should not. If there is any doubt, donít pass it on. We invite you to worship and study with us to learn more about first century Christianity Ė lgchurchofchrist.com. Adapted David Hartsell