Without wood, fire goes out; without a gossip, conflict dies down. As charcoal for embers and wood for fire, so is a quarrelsome man for kindling strife. A gossip’s words are like choice food that goes down to one’s innermost being. Smooth lips with an evil heart are like glaze on an earthen vessel. A hateful person disguises himself with his speech and harbors deceit within. When he speaks graciously, don’t believe him, for there are seven abominations in his heart. Though his hatred is concealed by deception, his evil will be revealed in the assembly. The one who digs a pit will fall into it, and whoever rolls a stone – it will come back on him. A lying tongue hates those it crushes, and a flattering mouth causes ruin. Prov 26:20-28 (HCSB)
Gossip is without doubt deadlier than the stab of an assassin’s sharp knife, a carefully aimed bullet by a sniper, or the swing of an executioner’s axe! Gossip is far more destructive than a forest fire, a raging flood, or the wailing wind of a tornado! Gossip rips apart friends and family, and even affects anyone caught in the web of deceitful and intentionally harmful words. The gossiper’s words can spread more harm than any plague. Yet, in the eyes of a gossiper, they are serving a need in society, because they are revealing the wrongs of the world, and exposing the evil in the lives of others. They never seem to understand the harm of their obsession to speak about others, even when they do not know all the facts or even are sharing intentional false accusations as long as it makes them the center of attention.
Gossip stirs up quarrels, conflict, evil, deceit, deception, and every kind of wicked abomination in the hearts of those whose ears receive the words of discord from the gossiper. Gossip can be outwardly bold or even sweetly delivered in an attempt to make the message more palatable to digest. Gossip may seem like the truth but is slanderous and libelous in its intent.
What can we do to eliminate the gossip that is around us? To prevent forest fires from igniting, rangers and fire fighters minimize the fuel for the fire and keep the “spark” from setting an uncontrollable fire that will scorch and destroy anything in its path. Likewise, we should be careful never to be the fuel that the gossip ignites, and the best way to end gossip is to recognize it and not get caught up in it. Allow gossip to not be spread through you chokes the gossip of its intended purpose. Never accept anything from third parties as a truth until you inspect and assess the source. Always investigate the truth about others before contributing to the gossip.
When we are confronted with a story about others, stop and ask ourselves if this story serves a purpose that will honor God if we accept it as truth. When in doubt, understand our responsibility is to always seek God’s will, God’s ways, and God’s wisdom according to God’s Word on all such matters. When you prayerfully seek His guidance clarity will come upon your heart, and if it is gossip trust that God will in His timing and in His ways turn the evil and conceit back upon the gossiper, and the curse will fall back upon him or her. Our role is to God’s agent to stop the gossip from harming anyone else.
You have thought all along that we were defending ourselves to you. No, in the sight of God we are speaking in Christ, and everything, dear friends, is for building you up. For I fear that perhaps when I come I will not find you to be what I want, and I may not be found by you to be what you want; there may be quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambitions, slander, gossip, arrogance, and disorder. I fear that when I come my God will again humiliate me in your presence, and I will grieve for many who sinned before and have not repented of the uncleanness, sexual immorality, and promiscuity they practiced. 2 Cor 12:19-21 (HCSB)