Posted on November 8, 2011 by

Topics for discussion: What is gossip? Is it all talk about persons not present? Is it talk about persons not present that is negative? Does it have to be untrue to be gossip? Is all conjecture about others gossip? Opinion sharing? Where is the line?

I was talking with one of my peripheral friends once, and mentioned that gossip was a sin, and she didn’t believe me! That blew my mind. She was an attendee at a mainline protestant church, and had been, and was still, and was active in the church community… and she had never learned that gossip was a sin. Scripture is very clear that gossip is sinful (1).

Words are powerful. Confession with the lips is part of conversion(2). Words can manipulate reality. How we choose to speak about others can create opinions in those who have never met the ones being spoken of. What comes out of our mouths reveals the contents of our hearts (3).

Ideally, we would all be concerned primarily with the tasks in front of us in this moment(4), and when not concerned with the work in front of us, would be contemplating things lovely and pure(5). This, however, leaves one with very little conversation. Women use conversation and commiseration to build community. How do you build community without talking about the members of the community to other members? Must one stick with “just the facts”? Is even positive talk about persons not present, when it steps into the realm of opinion/conclusions based on observations, inherently sinful? Are there circumstances in which this is justified, say between a man and wife? If sinful, how do you form a united front without sinning?

And while we are discussing the proper use of words, what are your thoughts on Colossians 4:6? (Let your speech be always with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man.)

Relevant scripture (in part, this being a rich area of study):

(1) James 1:26 If any man among you seem to be religious, and bridleth not his tongue, but deceiveth his own heart, this man’s religion is vain.

James 3:5-10 Even so the tongue is a little member, and boasteth great things. Behold, how great a matter a little fire kindleth!

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.

For every kind of beasts, and of birds, and of serpents, and of things in the sea, is tamed, and hath been tamed of mankind:

But the tongue can no man tame; it is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison.

Therewith bless we God, even the Father; and therewith curse we men, which are made after the similitude of God.

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

(2) Romans 10:10 For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.

(3) Matthew 12:35 -37 A good man out of the good treasure of the heart bringeth forth good things: and an evil man out of the evil treasure bringeth forth evil things.

But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment. For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned.

(4) Ephesians 4:28-29 Let him that stole steal no more: but rather let him labour, working with his hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that needeth.

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.

(5) 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 these things.

Posted in: Religion