What Does The Bible Say About Gossiping
Gossiping has been a part of human nature since ancient times. We are naturally curious creatures and have a tendency to talk about others in a negative light. Despite that, gossiping is something which isn’t looked too kindly on by the Bible. There are several Bible verses which pertain to gossip, mainly with regards to how one should handle it.
The Bible warns against gossiping very clear. Proverbs 16:28 reads, “A gossip betrays a confidence, but a trustworthy man keeps a secret.” This verse warns us against speaking about matters which we have been asked not to discuss. It is important to avoid spreading rumors unless we know for sure that the information is factual. It is also important to remember that our words have power and can have far reaching consequences.
In Corinthians we are also told not to pass on things which have been discussed in confidence. If someone has shared something with us in private, “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”. We should only share information which is necessary and which can benefit others. It is important to be mindful of this when in discussion with family, friends, or colleagues.
Ephesians reinforces this notion by saying, “Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.” We should be encouraging one another, rather than gossiping about each other. We should remind ourselves that whatever we are saying about others, especially if it’s negative, may possibly be said about us at some point in the future.
There are also strong teachings against gossip in the book of Proverbs. Proverbs 11:13 reads, “A gossip goes around telling secrets, but those who are trustworthy can keep a confidence.” This is a firm warning to never repeat something which has been shared in private. It is also important to remember that it is our duty to protect the secret. We should not feel the need to share it, even if we feel as though it could benefit someone else.
Proverbs 20:19 goes a step further and calls gossip a “slippery word”. We must remember that a single word can have a huge impact and, like the Scripture says, can cause a lot of damage if we do not watch our words carefully. We must be sure that, when we speak, we are speaking in love and not out of malice or selfishness.
In addition, 1 Peter 2:1 states, “Clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, for ‘God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” Here we are reminded that whatever words or actions we use towards one another should be done with kindness and humility.
Managing Our Thoughts and Feelings
It is important to control our thoughts and feelings in order to protect ourselves from falling into gossip. We need to be aware that feelings of envy, bitterness or resentment can cause us to say things which we later regret. We should remember that, although it can be difficult, we should strive to be patient and cultivate an atmosphere of grace.
It is also important to pay attention to our own behaviour and steer clear of gossiping. Even if we don’t feel that we are gossiping, it is still wise to be careful of how we talk and how we share our thoughts and feelings. We should also keep in mind that whatever we say about someone else, may also be said about us.
The Bible teaches us that gossip goes beyond just talking about someone in a negative light. It also includes criticism, exaggeration and even spreading rumors, which may or may not be true. As such, it is important to be mindful of our behaviour at all times, as the words we choose have a large impact on the people we talk about.
Finally, we should strive to be on guard
against all forms of gossip, both verbal and written. If we find ourselves heard tales or spread rumors, we need to be willing to take responsibility for our behaviour and make amends. We should strive to take the higher road and maintain good relationships with everyone we come in contact with.
Putting Faith Into Action
It is not just what the Bible tells us about gossiping; it is how we put it into action. We need to remember that our words and deeds can either build up or tear down. If we choose to focus our discussions on positive things, we will be much less likely to engage in gossip. We can also do our best to surround ourselves with people who also place importance on speaking kindly of others.
Looking towards Jesus provides us with an important example for how to live our lives. We should strive to imitate the example set forth by Jesus throughout the Bible. If we are devoted to understanding and following the commands given to us in the Bible, we can live our lives according to God’s will.
In addition, Galatians 6:2 states that we should be willing to bear one another’s burdens. This includes being willing to listen to and encourage others. In doing so, we are showing that we value others, and that we are willing to stand up for them, even when they are being gossiped about.
Finally, Philippians 4:8 tells us to “think on these things”. In our culture of constant comparison and judgment, it can be easy to slip into bad habits of gossiping. It is important to remember that God’s Word has instructed us to mind our language and to be mindful of our words and actions. We should be sure to remember this verse whenever we find ourselves in situations which involve negative talk.
Managing Our Attitude and Conduct
The Bible also warns us to be mindful of our attitude and conduct when it comes to gossip. We need to be aware of how we speak and act around others, as our words and actions can lead to hurt feelings and damaged relationships. It is important to approach every situation with love and compassion, and to not be influenced by our own biases or preconceived ideas.
We should also strive to not be tempted by instant gratification. It can be tempting to engage in gossip or criticism simply for the purpose of gaining a temporary feeling of superiority. However, this will often backfire, and we will find ourselves in deeper trouble than before. It is important to make sure that whatever we are saying or doing is something which is beneficial and which will not have a negative effect on anyone.
In addition, Romans 12:18 instructs us to live in harmony with one another. Harmony is created when we are honest, open, and kind towards one another. Living in such a way allows us to have positive interactions with others, and avoids us from slipping into gossip patterns.
Finally, 1 Corinthians 15:33 advises us to not be deceived by evil. We need to remember that, when we engage in gossip, we are participating in a form of evil. As such, it is important to maintain a sense of moral compass and follow the guidance set forth by the Bible, for it is God who can truly protect us from being deceived.
Taking Steps to Avoid Gossip
If we are serious about not gossiping, it is important to take certain steps to help us avoid the trap. For example, it is a good idea to spend time in Scripture and to study the Bible so that we can better understand God and His will for us. By doing so, we can see for ourselves what God wants from us and how we should live our lives.
It is also important to stay away from people and environments which promote gossip. If we are surrounded by people who gossip, it is likely that we will be tempted to do the same. So it is better to choose friends and surrounds which will help us to focus on more positive things.
Finally, we should strive to model the same behaviour that we would want to see from others. If we speak kindly, respect others and honour God, we will be less likely to engage in gossip or other mean-spirited talk. Not only that, but we can also provide an example for others to follow which is in line with God’s will.
The Power of Prayer
Finally, prayer can be a powerful tool when it comes to avoiding gossip and harmful talk. If we take the time to pray to God and ask for guidance, we can sometimes be protected from engaging in gossip. We should also be willing to pray for those who gossip and ask God to help them to avoid the temptation.
It is important to remember that gossiping is never a positive thing and can lead to negative consequences. We should always strive to follow the instructions given to us in the Bible and use our words and actions for good. With that in mind, we should be mindful of how we talk and strive to use the words given to us by God in a constructive and respectful way.
Putting Faith Into Practice
By applying the teachings of the Bible, we can strive to avoid participating in gossip. We can remind ourselves to be kind, thoughtful and respectful of everyone we speak to and of the words we choose to use. We can also take steps to surround ourselves with people and environments which are in line with God’s teachings.
It is important to remember that, while gossiping can be attractive and can be hard to avoid, it is not something which God accepts. We should strive to follow the teachings of the Bible and do our best to stay on a positive path which honours God.
When it comes to gossiping, we can strive to maintain respectful relationships by using our words to build up, rather than tear down. We can also remember to be mindful of our attitudes and conduct, and take steps to cultivate an atmosphere of harmony and grace.