Column: Encourage and build others up, don’t gossip

Is it wrong to gossip?

Do you want to be known for speaking life and encouragement and building people up or would you like to be known for tearing people down and bringing death to reputations and personal lives through gossip?

I think most of us want to speak life. But when we choose to gossip, we are not speaking life. We are in fact speaking death, and it hurts people.

Gossip hurts so many people in so many ways. Gossip hurts the person it is spoken about. In Proverbs 16:28, we are told that “A troublemaker plants seeds of strife; gossip separates the best of friends.”

Unfortunately, some of us have firsthand experience about what that verse is talking about. Perhaps you’ve been separated from a close friend or maybe even a family member because of gossip.

Somebody spoke some things that should have been left unsaid. It could have been something so simple. It really wasn’t that big of a deal, but it was shared in confidence, and now, it is hard for you to trust.

Or maybe it was something more significant. Perhaps you confided in someone about your battle with an addiction. It could have been an addiction to a substance, to alcohol or pornography.

You shared it in confidence, and the next thing you know, people who should have never known are talking about it. That was not only a setback to your relationship but also to your recovery.

Maybe you confided in somebody about a struggle that you’re having in your marriage and your friend betrayed your confidence. They felt like they had to share it with someone else. Maybe they weren’t being intentionally malicious.

In fact, they might have shared your story in the form of a prayer request. But the next thing you know, your spouse found out, and people are talking, and the story is confused, and the whole thing just kind of blew up in your face. You experienced the pain of gossip.

Gossip hurts the person it’s spoken about, but it also hurts the listener. In Proverbs 17:4, we are told that “Wrongdoers eagerly listen to gossip; liars pay close attention to slander.”

I think it would be fair to say that it is not only wrong to listen to gossip, but if you listen to gossip, you’re wrong. When people who gossip stop talking to you, it probably won’t be long until they start talking about you.

Steve Greene is the lead pastor of The Point in Seymour. Read his blog at or email him at [email protected]. Send comments to [email protected].

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