GOSSIP AND TATTLING


     Definition: Idle talk or rumor, especially about other people, and usually in a critical or condescending vein; the telling of secrets; repeating or discussing scandal.

1. The Bible clearly forbids gossip.


*  Leviticus 19:16a  Thou shalt not go up and down as a talebearer among thy people.

*  Psalm 15:1,3  Lord, who shall abide in Thy tabernacle? Who shall dwell in Thy holy hill? … 3 He that backbiteth not with his tongue, nor doeth evil to his neighbour, nor taketh up a reproach against his neighbour.

*  Proverbs 26:20  Where no wood is, there the fire goeth out: so where there is no talebearer, the strife ceaseth.

*  Ephesians 4:31  Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice.

*  Titus 3:2  [Exhort others] to speak evil of no man, to be no brawlers, but gentle, shewing all meekness unto all men.

*  James 4:11a  Speak not evil one of another, brethren.

*  1 Peter 2:1  Wherefore [lay] aside all malice, and all guile, and hypocrisies, and envies, and all evil speakings.

2. Gossip is unloving and destructive.


*  Genesis 37:2b,4  Joseph, being seventeen years old, was feeding the flock with his brethren; and the lad was with [his half-brothers] the sons of Bilhah, and with the sons of Zilpah, his father's wives: and Joseph brought unto his father their evil report [a bad report about them]. … 4 And when his brethren saw that their father loved him more than all his brethren, they hated him, and could not speak peaceably unto him.

*  1 Samuel 24:9  [Some of King Saul's men spread rumors that David wanted to kill him.] And David said to Saul, Wherefore hearest thou men's words, saying, Behold, David seeketh thy hurt?

*  Psalm 38:12b  They that seek my hurt speak mischievous things, and imagine deceits all the day long.

*  Psalm 41:7  All that hate me whisper together against me: against me do they devise my hurt.

*  Proverbs 11:9a  An hypocrite with his mouth destroyeth his neighbour.

*  Proverbs 11:13  A talebearer revealeth secrets: but he that is of a faithful spirit concealeth the matter.

*  Proverbs 16:27  An ungodly man diggeth up evil: and in his lips there is as a burning fire. [See also  James 3:5,6 ]

*  Proverbs 18:8  The words of a talebearer are as wounds, and they go down into the innermost parts of the belly.

*  Proverbs 26:20  Where no wood is, there the fire goeth out: so where there is no talebearer, the strife ceaseth.

*  Jeremiah 9:4  [Israel was so divided by disobedient slanderers, no one could trust anyone.] Take ye heed every one of his neighbour, and trust ye not in any brother: for every brother will utterly supplant, and every neighbour will walk with slanders.

*  Ezekiel 22:9  [Gossip helped bring about Israel's downfall, which the Lord sent His prophets to expose.] In thee are men that carry tales to shed blood.

*  2 Corinthians 12:20  For I fear, lest, when I come, I shall not find you such as I would, and that I shall be found unto you such as ye would not: lest there be debates, envyings, wraths, strifes, backbitings, whisperings, swellings, tumults.

*  James 3:5,6  Even so the tongue is a little member, and boasteth great things. Behold, how great a matter a little fire kindleth! 6 And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity: so is the tongue among our members, that it defileth the whole body, and setteth on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire of Hell.

*  James 3:10  Out of the same mouth proceedeth blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not so to be.

3. Gossip can undermine and destroy friendship.


*  1 Samuel 24:9  [Young David chided King Saul for listening to gossips who said he was seeking to harm Saul:] And David said to Saul, Wherefore hearest thou men's words, saying, Behold, David seeketh thy hurt?

*  Proverbs 16:28  A froward man soweth strife: and a whisperer separateth chief friends.

*  Proverbs 17:9  He that covereth a transgression seeketh love; but he that repeateth a matter separateth very friends.

4. Gossiping undermines our spiritual defenses and victory.


*  Proverbs 15:4  A wholesome tongue is a tree of life: but perverseness therein is a breach in the spirit.

*  Matthew 15:18,19  But those things which proceed out of the mouth come forth from the heart; and they defile the man. 19 For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts … false witness. … [See also  Romans 1:29 .]

*  2 Corinthians 12:20  [Often gossips talk more freely when leaders are away, as in Paul's case with the Corinthians. "While the cat's away the mice do play!"] For I fear, lest, when I come, I shall not find you such as I would, and that I shall be found unto you such as ye would not: lest there be debates, envyings, wraths, strifes, backbitings, whisperings, swellings, tumults:

*  2 Timothy 2:16,17a  But shun profane and vain babblings: for they will increase unto more ungodliness. 17a And their word will eat as doth a canker. …

*  1 Peter 3:10  For he that will love life, and see good days, let him refrain his tongue from evil, and his lips that they speak no guile.

5. Gossipers must answer to God.


*  Matthew 12:36,37  But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the Day of Judgment. 37 For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned.

*  Jeremiah 17:10  I the Lord search the heart, I try the reins, even to give every man according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his doings. [See also  Jeremiah 32:19 ;  Psalm 62:12 ;  Romans 2:6 .]

6. The Lord doesn't bless gossiping.


*  Psalm 15:1-3  Lord, who shall abide in Thy tabernacle? Who shall dwell in Thy holy hill? 2 He that walketh uprightly, and worketh righteousness, and speaketh the truth in his heart. 3 He that backbiteth not with his tongue, nor doeth evil to his neighbour, nor taketh up a reproach against his neighbour.

*  Psalm 101:5a  Whoso privily slandereth his neighbour, him will I [the Lord] cut off.

*  Isaiah 29:20,21  [Jerusalem's -- also called Ariel -- terrible condition:] For the terrible one is brought to nought, and the scorner is consumed, and all that watch for iniquity are cut off: 21 That make a man an offender for a word, and lay a snare for him that reproveth in the gate, and turn aside the just for a thing of nought.

7. Ask the Lord for the spiritual maturity not to gossip, and to avoid those who do.


*  Psalm 50:20,21  [Rather than get sucked into idle gossip, get militant against it.] Thou sittest and speakest against thy brother; thou slanderest thine own mother's son. 21 These things hast thou done, and I kept silence; thou thoughtest that I was altogether such an one as thyself: but I will reprove thee, and set them in order before thine eyes. [See also  Ephesians 5:11 .]

*  Proverbs 11:13  A talebearer revealeth secrets: but he that is of a faithful spirit concealeth the matter.

*  Proverbs 10:12  Hatred stirreth up strifes: but love covereth all sins.

*  Proverbs 20:19  He that goeth about as a talebearer revealeth secrets: therefore meddle not [don't keep company] with him that flattereth with his lips.

*  Ephesians 4:22,23  [Gossiping is a fleshly, carnal tendency, which we can avoid by walking in the Spirit.] That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; 23 And be renewed in the spirit of your mind.

*  1 Timothy 6:3,5  If any man … consent not to wholesome words …, 5 from such withdraw thyself.

8. It takes maturity to know the difference between reporting a serious wrong and gossiping or tattling; these simple "tests" may help:


*  Habakkuk 1:3a  [What are your motives?] Why dost thou shew Me iniquity, and cause Me to behold grievance?

*  John 8:7b  [Are you just as guilty?] He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.

*  Philippians 2:3  [Are you perhaps trying to exalt yourself by putting another down?] Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves.

*  Colossians 3:13,14  [Are you being understanding and forgiving?] Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye. 14 And above all these things put on charity [love], which is the bond of perfectness. [See also  Ephesians 4:32 .]

*  1 Peter 3:9  [Are you perhaps trying to get back at the other person?] Not rendering evil for evil, or railing for railing: but contrariwise blessing; knowing that ye are thereunto called, that ye should inherit a blessing.

9. Remember, the Lord sees and understands the situation better than we do, so it's sometimes best to hold off and trust Him to handle things.


*  Job 34:21  For His eyes are upon the ways of man, and He seeth all his goings.

*  Proverbs 5:21  For the ways of man are before the eyes of the Lord, and He pondereth all his goings.

*  Proverbs 15:3  The eyes of the Lord are in every place, beholding the evil and the good.

*  Romans 2:2  But we are sure that the judgment of God is according to truth against them which commit such things.

*  Romans 14:10,12  But why dost thou judge thy brother? Or why dost thou set at nought thy brother? For we shall all stand before the Judgment Seat of Christ. … 12 So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God.

*  1 Corinthians 4:5  Therefore judge nothing before the time, until the Lord come, Who both will bring to light the hidden things of darkness, and will make manifest the counsels of the hearts: and then shall every man have praise of God.

*  Hebrews 4:13  Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in His sight: but all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of Him with Whom we have to do.

*  1 Peter 4:19  Wherefore let them that suffer according to the will of God commit the keeping of their souls to Him in well doing, as unto a faithful Creator.

10. Idleness can easily lead to gossiping, so keep busy for the Lord and stay positive.


*  Proverbs 14:23  In all labour there is profit: but the talk of the lips tendeth only to penury [poverty].

*  2 Thessalonians 3:11  For we hear that there are some which walk among you disorderly, working not at all, but are busybodies. [See also  1 Peter 4:15 .]

*  1 Timothy 5:13  And withal they learn to be idle, wandering about from house to house; and not only idle, but tattlers also and busybodies, speaking things which they ought not.

*  Ephesians 4:29  Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers.

*  Philippians 4:8  Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on [and talk about] these things.


Copyright (c) 1998 by Aurora Productions

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