This is a topic that truly gave me a lot to think about. It seems like it has infiltrated our daily lives in such a way that we don’t even realize that we are gossiping. But wait a minute—is gossiping WRONG? If so, how come? Why is it so enjoyable to do then? If not, why does it feel tense when the person you were talking about walks by? Why is there sometimes guilt when you talk to that person later? In this blog, I will do my best to answer some of these questions and maybe some more based on truths that I found apparent in my life.
I would first like to answer this first and, in my opinion, most important question. Is gossiping WRONG? Some may argue that it depends on what kind of gossip. For example, if you are talking about one’s current physical condition (i.e. someone is in the hospital) then there is no harm done, right? While on the other hand, if you are talking about how bad an individual did when you played basketball with them, you could really offend the person so it’s bad gossip. That’s a solid argument in my book. Personally, I do believe that there is some truth to that. Due to my strong belief in Christianity, I turn to the Bible to get the answers to questions that I have difficulties answering. Here is a good link with 100 Bible verses about gossip. After reading a few of these, it is VERY difficult to still argue that gossip is good, but the previous example can still stand within the boundaries set by the Bible. Ephesians 4:29 in the ESV says, “Let no corrupting 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.” What is this saying? Gossip that is just plain bad and will not build anyone up but is just corrupting those around you is EVIL. DO NOT DO IT. On the contrary, Paul commands us to build one another up. But then I ask myself, is there such thing as GOOD gossip? Let me give you an example. A while ago I was speaking with the youth pastor at our church (who happens to also be named Paul) about some things that were going on in my life. During that talk, he told me of one or two stories about people in our church that I did not necessarily NEED to know, but they were used as a moral to teach me how to get through what was going on (it is worth mentioning that he did not do this with any testimony, only ones that he was given permission to tell by the individuals who had the stories). I believe that it is these kinds of situations where we are permitted to say things that we normally wouldn’t because they “[fit] the occasion, that it [gives] grace to those who hear it” (Ephesians 4:29 ESV). Therefore, there is a bit of a gray area in which gossiping can be beneficial.
So then why is gossiping so enjoyable? And why is there a guilt factor to it? I say we go back to the Bible. Hebrews 11:25 talks about the “pleasures of sin”. So sin, although wrong, FEELS good. Just because something feels good, does that make it right? If a thief’s hobby is stealing and loves doing so, does that make it moral? Of course not! In the same way, gossiping may make us feel warm and fuzzy, but that does not mean that we should do it. I believe that the same evidence answers the second question posed in this paragraph as well. Why is there guilt? BECAUSE ITS STILL WRONG. The same way that you (hopefully) feel guilty when you lie to your parents because you know its wrong, you should feel guilty when you gossip and see the person because you basically lied to them in the face by speaking behind their back.
Where’s the limit then? What can/can’t we say? I didn’t find a Bible verse to back this next statement up except for “do to others as you would have them do to you” (Luke 6:31 NIV). This can only be applied here to some extent though. For example, I like to roast people in such a way that they know I’m joking and I love it when people roast me too. I was born with thicker skin in that respect. I also know that (sadly) I am one of the few born this way. Many times I find myself saying things that I know I would laugh at if they were being said to me, but the person I am talking to takes serious offence. I know it sucks for me, but I am still the one at fault for saying those things, even though I treated others the way that I wanted to be treated. Therefore, I have come up with the following solution: don’t say things behind peoples’ back that you wouldn’t say to their face. And even then, make sure that it is necessary to say those things. That last part is really important. Two days ago, there was some sort of conflict between two individuals at a park while we were playing volleyball. It got pretty heated at one moment and although it resolved without violence, one cannot really say that it was peaceful resolution. I bring this up because yesterday night I was with a group of friends and one of them that was present at the day prior’s event asked me about my opinion of what had occurred. I was about to answer and then I stopped myself and thought, What is the point of me saying this? Is there any point, or am I just adding more wood on the fire? I politely answered to the friend that asked me the question, “I do have an opinion on what happened, but I do not see the point of stating it. I think that this would just be gossip and is not something that is necessary to be spoken about.” I was scared as to what this individual would reply to me at this point. I thought I for sure made myself out to be a sissy. Yet to my surprise, they answered “Hey, I can respect that. You’re right.” I was amazed. It seemed that I had earned myself more respect by answering in that manner than I would have if I answered her question!
I tell you all of these things in hopes that you would truly consider the things that I have written about. I ask you to truly examine yourselves and your stance on this topic. Are you the one that gossips? If so, take James 1:26 into account: “If anyone thinks he is religious and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his heart, this person’s religion is worthless.” Or are you one who spends their time with gossipers and slanderers? I warn you from the bottom of my heart, for we all know those types of people. The ones that you need to watch yourself and your tongue extra carefully with because you know that nothing is safe with them. The Wise King Solomon writes in Proverbs, “Whoever goes about slandering reveals secrets; therefore do not associate with a simple babbler.” Examine your friends and see if you are in the right crowd of people. If you find yourself not to be, I’m not saying to dump the bad friends and say nothing to them, but instead I urge you for your own benefit to not stay so close to them.
Thanks for reading,