Scripture links it with evil, depravity, murder, deceit, God-hatred, heartlessness, and ruthlessness (Romans 1:29-31) and with disorder, arrogance, slander, and anger (2 Corinthians 12:20). The Word of God states it shatters friendships and fuels quarrels (Proverbs ; 26:20). Proverbs 6:16-19 brings the shocking statement that God hates those who practice it.
What is it?
The lure of gossip is so prevalent that Proverbs gives the peril a rare double dose. In both 18:8 and 26:22 the Bible declares "The words of a gossip are like choice morsels; they go down to a man's inmost parts."
If you want people to really listen, whisper. People enjoy listening to gossip. Why? It makes them feel like they are "one-up" on others. A poor self-image may be a causal agent to an appetite for gossip. If I can keep the focus on others, I don't have to look at myself. Non-biblical, of course; but rather comfortable. The destructiveness of gossip does not depend on the perpetrator's motives.
I've heard gossip prefaced by the attempted disclaimer. "I don't want to gossip, but we need to pray about" Intentional or not, trying to sanctify gossip is like trying to legitimize abortion you can flap your jaws endlessly and arrive nowhere.
I know of only one way to stop gossips from dumping on me. Too often I whimp out and don't seize the opportunity. It is a risky technique, but I want to increase my use of it as I realize afresh how horrific the sin of gossip is in the sight of my Father.
The technique is simple. When someone starts dumping on you about someone else, say something like, "You may be right, but I don't have all the facts. Besides, you need to talk to him/her about it. I trust you want to do the right thing, and scripture tells us to go right to the person. Just to make sure, I'll tell him/her today that you need to talk to him about this."
I said it wasn't easy.
If you use the technique, you've got to follow through.
Used often, it should lessen the appearance of the gossips at your ear. That's good protection, because a gossip is someone who snares the unsuspecting in a mouth trap! An amazing thing about gossips is that they give you all the details without knowing any of the facts.
What about when you are the object of gossip?
Draw some comfort from the words of Proverbs 26:2, "Like a fluttering sparrow or a darting swallow, an undeserved curse does not come to rest." I believe gossip is a curse, and I am convinced this proverb means that God intervenes when some talebearer blabs gossip to others. Either their sin finds them out directly, or perhaps God almost erases the garbage in the recipient's mind. Recognize that those who may spread undeserved garbage about you are simply trying to elevate themselves out of their self-imposed and self-defined filth. Don't resort to "counter-gossip."
Now, if I've said something that offends you, let me know. Don't let others know until you let me know! God helping us, I'll try to do the same. I don't want my life categorized with the horrible types described in the first paragraph and, I trust, neither do you.