Our society is obsessed and inundated with gossip. We are fascinated by it. Magazine racks are filled to the brim with the latest gossip on our favorite movie and TV stars. We tune into the Bachelor to get all the hot details on who gets the rose. The news obsesses over the personal lives of politicians and our culture eats this stuff up. We love to see people rise and fall. The problem is we are mistaken if we think this only happens in the secular world. But it doesn’t. Sadly, gossip is so ingrained in our culture that it has seeped into the church. Gossip is immensely prevalent in the church and I have seen its effects first hand. I have seen it crush families, split brothers and sisters in Christ, and drive people away from the church. The church always discusses how horrible other sins are, yet we forget that the Bible lumps gossip in with other horrible sins.
“And just as they did not see fit to acknowledge God any longer, God gave them over to a depraved mind, to do those things which are not proper, being filled with all unrighteousness, wickedness, greed, evil; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, malice; they are gossips, slanderers, haters of God, insolent, arrogant, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, without understanding, untrustworthy, unloving, unmerciful; and although they know the ordinance of God, that those who practice such things are worthy of death, they not only do the same, but also give hearty approval to those who practice them.” - Romans 1:28-32
It doesn’t matter if gossip is cleverly concealed behind prayer requests, it doesn’t matter if someone has wronged you, spreading gossip in our churches and our community groups is wrong. People can also spread gossip while meaning well by seeking council for a friend. It also doesn’t matter if we are just “joking” or don’t really mean it. Gossip goes against the very heart and nature of the Gospel. At its core gossip is about pride, it’s quick self-gratification that puts down fellow brothers and sisters in Christ, all while puffing ourselves up and making ourselves look morally righteous. This is not the Gospel. This is not the call of Christ. We are all created in His image. Adopted before the foundations of the world and purchased with a price...Christ’s death on the cross. We as believers are the church, the body of Christ. We are called to unity and reconciliation, not division and strife. The word is clear on the power of the tongue and gossip.
“A perverse man spreads strife, And a slanderer separates intimate friends.”
– Proverbs 16:28
“He who guards his mouth and his tongue, Guards his soul from troubles”
– Proverbs 21:23
“Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, so that it will give grace to those who hear.” – Ephesians 4:29
“If anyone thinks himself to be religious, and yet does not bridle his tongue but deceives his own heart, this man’s religion is worthless.” – James 1:26
“Let your speech always be with grace, as though seasoned with salt, so that you will know how you should respond to each person.” – Colossians 4:6
The heart of the issue is our heart. Our hearts are not meditating on the truth of the Gospel, but the pride of the heart. We are all guilty of gossip, including myself. It’s time to attune our heart to the Gospel and flee gossip. When we cling to Christ as a body we are united and able to do mighty things for the kingdom of God. When we are fixed on Christ we no longer want to fall into the trap of gossip. When we are around people who gossip we now have the strength to call attention to the fact that it’s gossip. Iron sharpens iron but gossip dulls the blade. When we place our whole life under the Lordship of Christ we no longer want to puff ourselves up and belittle others, we want to be the suffering servant and lift one another up. When we are under Christ and someone annoys or wrongs us, we don’t talk about them behind their back, but we speak to them or about them with love and grace.
A lot of the time we don’t think we are even spreading gossip because we think we are saying something truthful about someone. It doesn’t matter if someone’s private business is truthful, we don’t spread it behind his or her back whether it’s truth or not. We shouldn’t be spreading gossip, but the Gospel. All our conversations should be placed under the Lordship of Christ and all of us should be lifting each other up. We have a dying world that needs the Gospel (Good News), one that will be useless if there is strife and division. If you have been wronged by gossip or have wronged someone, I pray we go to them in repentance and reconciliation. We need to lay our pride at the foot of the cross so the body of Christ can stand united, performing wonders through the work of the Holy Spirit.