“If you can’t say something good about someone, sit right here by me.” – Alice Roosevelt Longworth, daughter of President Theodore Roosevelt
It’s so tempting to spread a bit of juicy gossip, especially about a person you don’t like very much. Or perhaps you’re like Ms. Roosevelt and love to hear about the latest gossip at work, school or your community. When such temptations strike, the following Bible verses can help you overcome the urge to indulge in idle malicious gossip.
Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, so that it will give grace to those who hear.
When friends or coworkers begin to gossip about someone, use the opportunity to say something nice. Perhaps that will redirect the conversation and serve as a subtle reminder that the group can do better things with their time. As a bonus, if you are always the person who only says good things about others, people will trust you and perhaps not gossip in your presence.
You shall love your neighbor as yourself.
Jesus himself gave us this important summary of the Christian way of life. Gossip does not conform to this ideal in any way. You certainly don’t want others to gossip about you or your loved ones, so treat everyone around you with the same respect.
Whoever slanders a neighbor in secret I will reduce to silence. Haughty eyes and arrogant hearts I cannot endure.
Gossip offends God and is a sin against both God and neighbor. If you do gossip, pray for forgiveness and the grace to only speak kind words about others in the future.
As for a person who stirs up division, after warning him once and then twice, have nothing more to do with him.
Gossip is very divisive and can damage a person’s good reputation. If you know someone who constantly gossips, take courage and confront the person. This is difficult to do, but if you take a kind and loving approach, perhaps the person will realize how much damage has been done. If your advice goes unheeded, then it may be best to avoid that person or end the friendship.
For lack of wood the fire goes out, and where there is no whisperer, quarreling ceases.
Those who gossip need an audience of people willing to listen. If you refuse to partake in gossip, then eventually others may follow your example, leaving the gossiper with no one to share the juicy rumors.
Resist the Temptation
Gossip may seem harmless at times, but it is a serious matter. Whether you spread it or just listen in, you are harming others and perhaps your own reputation. Be strong and resist the temptation, praying for help when you feel weak.