What does the Bible say about gossip?

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Gossip

Gossip may include the spreading of personal facts or rumors. Our God is a God of truth. Lies cannot hurt Him but it can hurt His people. The lies of the devil deceived one third of the heavenly angels. And lies caused our happy world to fall into sin and led many to eternal death (Revelation 12:4, 7–9). For this reason, the Lord abhors lies because it cause people to lose their way and get enslaved by the destroyer. And it also defame honor and break friendships (Proverbs 11:9; 17:9; 18:8; 26:22).

The Ninth Commandment

The Ninth commandment states, “You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor” (Exodus 20:16). Gossip is an expansion of the ninth commandment, which forbids defamation and slander. The Lord instructed, “You shall not circulate a false report. Do not put your hand with the wicked to be an unrighteous witness” (Exodus 23:1). The last half of the verse forbids uniting with others in spreading slandering reports. And the Lord adds, “You shall not go about as a talebearer among your people; nor shall you take a stand against the life of your neighbor: I am the Lord” (Leviticus 19:16).

Gossip is one of the things that God hates: “These six things the Lord hates, yes, seven are an abomination to Him: A proud look, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked plans, feet that are swift in running to evil, a false witness who speaks lies, and one who sows discord among brethren” (Proverbs 6:16-19). In fact, He states, “Whoever secretly slanders his neighbor, him I will destroy” (Psalm 101:5).

Guard the Tongue

A tongue that is allowed to say many words and gossips is in danger of leading its owner into much trouble (Proverbs 21:23). The tongue is a difficult member to control and has big effects for both good and evil (James 3:1–10). The godly person should examine thoughtfully everything that comes out of his mouth and remembers that one day he will give an account for his words (Ecclesiastes 5:1–3; Matthew 12:36; James 3:2).

Paul warned against the idlers that go from house to house and gossip (1 Timothy 5:13). And he asked the believers to purge all gossip and slander from their speech (2 Corinthians 12:20). Many quarrels would quickly cool off if talebearers didn’t add fuel to the fire (Proverbs 22:10; 26:20).

Gossip is the sign of a corrupt heart, “For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks” (Matthew 12:34; Romans 1:29). It should have no place in the Christian’s life. Therefore, the Lord commands, “Keep your tongue from evil, and your lips from speaking deceit” Psalm 34:13. Christians are to speak only “what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers” (Ephesians 4:29).

The habit of criticizing fellow church members often shows self-interest and becomes a root for church divisions. For this reason James urges the believers, “Do not speak evil of one another, brethren. He who speaks evil of a brother and judges his brother, speaks evil of the law and judges the law. But if you judge the law, you are not a doer of the law but a judge” (James 4:11).

The gossiper who slanders acts as a fool (Proverbs 10:18). And fellow members are not to associate with him (Proverbs 20:19). The true believer will conceal personal facts (Proverbs 11:13) for love covers a multitude of sins (1 Peter 1:8). Therefore, “If anyone thinks he is religious and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his heart, this person’s religion is worthless” (James 1:26). Thanks be to God, for He gives those that seek His help in overcoming the power to control their tongues (1 Corinthians 15:57).

In His service,

BibleAsk Team

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