(Title of the lessons was taken from the book by Kevin Offner published by InterVarsity)
We just love to talk to each other don’t we? We love to talk about each other. We talk about each other success, failure, jobs, jobs lost, relationships, relationships lost, talk, talk, talk… Nothing wrong with that right? We care about each other so we talk about each other so that we can better understand and help, right? Well, mostly… But when our talk becomes gossip now we have a problem.
Gossip, Gossip, Gossip… what is gossip?
We hear people talk about gossip being bad. We here them talk about it being a sin. But what is it? It is kind of tough to define isn’t it? For most of us the definition is like the definition of pornography for the United States. A supreme court judge defined pornography this way, “I know it when I see it.” But man that makes it tough.
My version of Gossip might be different from yours right? I might consider that I’m expressing concern, you might think I’m talking behind someone’s back. But if this is something that is considered sin, we probably better get a definition. What makes talking “gossip”?
· chitchat: light informal conversation for social occasions
o Family gatherings are so full of gossip or catching up.
· dish the dirt:
o wag one’s tongue; speak about others and reveal secrets or intimacies; “She won’t dish the dirt”
o a report (often malicious) about the behavior of other people; “the divorce caused much gossip”
§ “Did you hear that she is spending hours talking to that guy in Ft Wayne”
§ “Well I heard that the Pastor really doesn’t like them.”
· chew the fat: talk socially without exchanging too much information; “the men were sitting in the cafe and shooting the breeze”
o Randy Travis: ‘as long as old men still talk about the weather, as long as old women still talk about old men’
· a person given to gossiping and divulging personal information about others
o “OK, just between you and me…”
Why do we do this?
Gossip helps you feel connected.
Gossip makes you feel like a trusted friend.
Gossip lets you feel superior to others and thus good about yourself.
We are scared of not knowing or appearing out of the loop.
What are WE going to do about it?
Here are 5 tips and 53 verses of scripture to help.
Tip: Don´t Add Fuel
How can we keep from participating in gossip? One way is to refrain from adding comments. It`s hard not to, but DON`T. (The muck stops here!)
When you run out of wood, the fire goes out; when the gossip ends, the quarrel dies down.
Tip: How Gossip Hurts
Gossip hurts the one talked about and the one doing the talking. The Bible doesn´t use the word “gossip.” Rather, it refers to gossip as talebearing, backbiting, etc. Here are a couple of God`s “statements” about it:
Listening to gossip is like eating cheap candy; do you really want junk like that in your belly?
A gossip betrays a confidence; so avoid a man who talks too much.
Tip: Repeat — or Repeat Not?
To gossip or not to gossip? Remember, some things shouldn`t be repeated at all.
A gossip betrays a confidence, but a trustworthy man keeps a secret.
Tip: Use Words Carefully
Keep a careful check on the words you use. Don`t give the “talebearer” any reason to use your conversation later, as it may be twisted out of context.
Psalm 34:13 3
“Keep thy tongue from evil, and thy lips from speaking guile.”
Tip: Stopping Gossip
If you are serious about stopping gossip, you may have to be frank and open with the person spreading it.
A north wind brings stormy weather, and a gossipy tongue stormy looks.
53 Versus on Gossip