As I spent time with God’s Word this morning, I came across the following verse:
Proverbs 26:20 (NLT) “Fire goes out without wood, and quarrels disappear when gossip stops.”
One of the many things that I have observed and learned over the years is that people are incredibly courageous when they are hiding in the shadows.
And that is exactly what gossip is. It is people hiding in the shadows talking about things that should not be discussed.
In fact, let’s define gossip. It’s one of those words that we might use periodically but would struggle to define if asked to do so. That being said, here are my thoughts about what characterizes gossip (I realize that there are many other aspects of gossip that would require a much longer list but these are the three that immediately come to mind when I think about what typically happens):
- Negative information shared that would immediately stop if the person being talked about walked into the room.
- Negative information shared with people who don’t need to know.
- Negative information shared that carries no desire or sense of responsibility to resolve the problem in a positive way.
Friend, sometimes bad information needs to be shared with others. But, the line is crossed and the information becomes gossip if any of the above characteristics are violated. (But, gossip can also include the sharing of information, that isn’t necessarily negative, that is simply none of talker’s business.)
Unfortunately, some people who go by the name “Christian” are also known to be gossips. In fact, they can sometimes be so devious as to play both sides of the fence.
Please, please, please don’t be one of them.
Are there other qualities of gossip that you have observed? If so, please feel free to include them in the comments section below. And, of course, we are talking about the sin of gossip and not specific situations. Don’t gossip in your comments. 🙂