What is Gossip?
Do you engage in the office gossip? Ever been the victim of it? It sucks to be on either side of this equation, doesn’t it? It’s also quite easy to get sucked into it.
What is gossip? Gossip is described as a casual or unconstrained conversation or reports about other people, typically involving details that are not confirmed as being true. Basically, spreading rumors. Someone somewhere heard something about so and so and it gets tangled, twisted and out of control.
I used to be bad at this this, probably because I was a victim of it for so long. It felt better to be on the giving rather than receiving end. But, something in the pit of my stomach was not feeling right whenever I participated in it.
What does the Bible say about gossip?
Now I know what it is. It was God convicting me. But, back then, I didn’t know this. I believed in God and Jesus and owned a Bible, but it sat mostly unread. Had I picked it up when I felt badly about something I’d heard and passed along, God probably would have led me to this:
A dishonest man spreads strife,
and a whisperer separates close friends.
Proverbs 16:28 (ESV)
It goes on to say…
Whoever goes about slandering reveals secrets;
therefore do not associate with a simple babbler.
Proverbs 20:19 (ESV)
We are actually instructed to stay away from gossipers. No wonder it never sat right with me. That and knowing how it felt to be on the receiving end of such nonsense.
It is better to hold my tongue and walk away when it starts. I know this to be true when I actually did obey the Spirit. So, what can we do to avoid gossip?
When someone comes up to you with a salacious tidbit, ask yourself these questions.
- Is it true?
- Is it positive?
- Is it my business?
This doesn’t just hold true for talk amongst your friends. I used to love to read celebrity gossip. I couldn’t wait to see who was doing what to whom. But one year, someone mentioned that they were fasting. Not from food but from something they enjoyed doing. I decided to try it and fasted from reading celebrity gossip. When my time of fasting was over, I realized that I was no longer even interested in that kind of thing. My passive participation had been just as toxic as my active participation. I’m so happy to be rid of it.
Now, after reading the Word and praying, I walk away from gossip…most of the time. I still catch myself participating at times, but the Spirit convicts me and I stop. I pray daily that God convicts me when I start moving in a direction that is not honorable to Him. I never realized just how easy it is slide into a negative conversation until I started asking Him for that push and asking myself those questions.
If it isn’t true, isn’t positive, and isn’t my business, most of the time I simply don’t need to know about it and I just let it go. I try to put a good spin on it and redirect the conversation. God is still working on me, but I’m making progress.
Let’s all try to either redirect or walk away when the conversation turns to gossip.
Have a blessed day.