What does the Bible say about gossip?

Abbie Sharpe

"Psst, lean in. I heard a rumor. Promise to not tell anyone."

"I know a juicy secret, but we’ve got to keep it between us."

"I have a suspicion about someone, and I need to vent." 

A gossiper is one who has privileged information about people and reveals that information to those who have no business knowing it. 

Gossip is an easy sin to commit and comes in many forms: venting, spreading rumors, sharing opinions, seeking advice. How thrilling it is to hear a tidbit about someone that the rest of the world may not know! 

Gossip is disguised as a friendly invitation for fellowship but contains a disastrous disease inside. Gossip is like a cancer, spreading like wildfire through gossipers. 

The Bible Has Many Warnings About Falling Prey to Gossip:

1. Gossip is divisive.

We all know how difficult trust can be to reclaim once it’s broken. Surely, you recall a time (hello, middle school/high school!) when you discovered a close friend had started a rumor about you behind your back. How heartbreaking to find out someone you trusted spoke untruth about you or spread a secret they vowed to keep? Moving forward, the friendship was likely never the same. 

Gossip divides relationships, destroys trust, and the pain associated with gossip is felt long after the words are spoken.

Gossip divides relationships, destroys trust, and the pain associated with gossip is felt long after the words are spoken. 

Remember someone who gossips to you will gossip about you, and gossip separates friendships (Proverbs 16:28). Let’s respect our relationships and not fall into an infectious gossip trap.

When someone in our circle gossips the Bible instructs us to warn them twice and then avoid them (Titus 3:10). Correct them in a loving manner without condemning them, but if gossip continues, it is time to say goodbye. 

2. Gossip is poisonous.

Have you ever heard a Christian smack talk a co-worker with the same voice they use to praise Jesus? Their own image becomes tarnished as their gossip poisons the reputation of the one they are gossiping about. This sting of betrayal throws shade on the light of Jesus that is supposed to shine from within us. 

The Bible warns us about the danger of our tongues when we use them the wrong way, and calls the human tongue evil and full of deadly poison (James 3:7-8). Ouch! Those careless words that slip from our mouths have a disastrous impact in the long run (think back to the labels from the gym locker room). 

Speaking of others in any way but honorable shames their image and reputation, and it paints an ugly picture of the gossiper. Let’s tame our tongues and use them wisely.

3. Gossip is foolish.

It’s difficult to resist a conversation where entertaining tidbits about someone are being exchanged, but what’s really to be gained from it? Often, we join a discussion simply to feel included or make small talk. But, there is no profit from tearing another person down or spreading rumors. 

The Bible warns we will be judged for the words we use (Matthew 12:36). Gossiping about others is no exception to judgment! When we hear gossip we can choose to be wise and do as Titus 3:1-2 says: “Remind the people to be subject to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready to do whatever is good, to slander no one, to be peaceable and considerate, and always to be gentle toward everyone.” 

Let’s choose to portray wisdom with our words and stray away from foolish small talk, letting our speech reflect the wisdom of the Lord and not that of a fool (Proverbs 1:7, Proverbs 10:18-21).

4. Gossip is not in God’s plan for you.

God did not create humans to judge each other and point out everyone’s imperfections to everyone else. In fact, the Bible repeatedly commands we are to love one another, treat others as we would want to be treated, and love our neighbor as ourselves. Although we are blessed with freedom of speech, God’s plan for you does not include a haughty tongue (Galatians 5:13). 

When we speak of others and our words aren’t motivated by love we are being disobedient. Instead of tearing each other down and spreading gossip, God calls us to build each other up and encourage each other. (1 Thessalonians 5:11).

While gossip may be accepted as normal at school or work, the Bible says we are to renew our mind with the will of God, not the will of the world (Romans 12:2). Gossip is tempting to take part in, but it only hurts others (and ourselves). God’s plan for us is not filled with evil speech and deceit. We were created in His image, so if we wouldn’t speak it in Heaven, let’s not say it on this side of eternity either.

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