Gossip Will Cause Us To Be Lost Just Like Any Other Sin

The “need to know” is a prevalent term in the government world which asserts that even if a person has the security clearance to be exposed to certain information, he also must have the “need to know.” This is an important policy in making sure critical information doesn’t fall into the wrong hands. This can also be a factor in a sin the Bible calls “gossip.” According to Dictionary.com, “gossip” is defined as “idle talk or rumor, especially about the personal or private affairs of others.” Telling something false about another person of course is gossip, but even if what we say is true, if the person we are telling the information to doesn’t have that spiritual “need to know,” then that can also fall under the category of gossip.

One of the first things we should ask ourselves to determine if something we are about to say is gossip is – am I hurting the reputation of the person I am talking about? Matt 18:15-17 talks about going to a person privately if they have sinned against us. The idea expressed by the passage is that hopefully the offender will repent and make it right with the one they harmed, before their reputation before the outside world becomes damaged more than necessary. If they do repent, we should forget their sin in regard to telling others about it.

Knowing that gossip is condemned by passages like II Cor 12:20 (ESV), why is this sin so prevalent? Isn’t it usually because of jealousy (also condemned by II Cor 12:20)? Don’t we think we can build up others’ esteem of us by tearing down their esteem of the one we are gossiping about? As is usually the case, one sin leads to another.

Gossip can develop into a habit. The only way to curtail this insidious sin is by making a conscience effort to stop it. It won’t automatically stop on its own just because we mentally acknowledge its hurtful effects. And if you realize you are being gossiped to, then at the very least immediately change the conversation. Better yet, spiritual courage and integrity demand we stand up for the righteous when they are being falsely spoken about (Acts 9:26-27, Proverbs 8:13, Amos 5:10), instead of pandering to gossip. But alas, this is a lost art – even among Christians. Truly “He that justifieth the wicked, and he that condemneth the just, even they both are abomination to the Lord” (Prov 17:15).

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