“If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.”
We are told this phrase when we are young but rarely do we listen to its warning. Gossip is an ugly sin, but it’s a trap that Christian’s easily fall into because gossip seems minor next to sins like murder or blasphemy. The truth is less appealing and interesting, so people choose to gossip. But talking about others is a sin that rips apart lives and breaks hearts. I’ve watched it happen and have had it happen to me.
So before you spread rumors or speak about people behind their backs, consider these four effects of gossip:
1. It dismantles bridges.
Gossip causes you to lose trust from those you love. Where there was once a bridge, gossip breaks a friendship down over time until it’s destroyed. If you are gossiping, others will quickly assume that you cannot be trusted. What would stop you from doing to them what they see you do to others whom you love?
Underneath all the lies, the truth is hard to find. And if you don’t stand by truth, then you will quickly be deemed untrustworthy.
“A dishonest man spreads strife, and a whisperer separates close friends.” –Proverbs 16:28
2. It creates obstacles.
Sure, you may be the one who people run to for new drama and the best stories, but while you are dishing out the latest about your boss or your friend’s sister-in-law, you are slowly building walls of separation. With each story you tell, an obstacle is made. Soon, you are the one people listen to but never share with — for good reason!
3. It separates us from God.
Gossip is a sin, and sin separates us from our Creator. There is enough in this world that tries to put a wedge between us and God, so instead of separating ourselves further, we must see gossip for the ugly sin that it is.
So what should we do?
- Repent and walk away from gossip
- Learn to break the habit
- Ask forgiveness from those we’ve wronged
- Pray for a trustworthy spirit.
“Set a guard, O Lord, over my mouth; keep watch over the door of my lips!” –Psalm 141:3
4. It gives us negative attention.
With gossip comes attention. People are drawn to drama! There’s a reason the news reports on half-truths or embellishes stories. It’s because they want a bigger following. If we want attention, the quickest and easiest way to do so is to speak ill of others or share enticing stories — whether they are true or not. But it’s important to understand that gossip reaps negative attention.
“Let no unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.” –Ephesians 4:29
We are called to be builders of others, not destroyers. A big part of being a builder comes from what we say. Are we uplifting those around us? Are we helping them grow into the best versions of who God created them to be? If not, we need to reevaluate and seek God’s help!
Tell us in the comments how you plan to respond to gossip as a Christian.