2 Corinthians 12:20(NIV)
For I am afraid that when I come I may not find you as I want you to be, and you may not find me as you want me to be. I fear that there may be discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, slander, gossip, arrogance and disorder.
It's a pretty simple term, but has very huge consequences. It's spreading rumors, whether true or lies, It's hard to tell sometimes, but it typically involves people talking about people and situations that they aren't involved in, do not know all the facts or details, and don't seem to care. Webster's defined it as "idle, often malicious talk". That's what it is, idle, people who have too much time on their hands, and malicious, meaning it hurts people.
We all may form opinions of people based on meeting them or being around them, we may think they are a jerk, or friendly, or quiet, or whatever, and we may joke and talk about people for humor, but when we get to the place where we start "talking about" people to other people, to spread gossip, it's plain wrong, no way to justify it. We are spreading half-truth, hear-say, and garbage to other people without first hand knowledge, accurate facts, or most of the time not even knowing the person, situation, and basing it on our biased opinion of the person or because it makes us feel important to tell others about "people". Not Cool.
Sad thing is it's everywhere, on the internet or social pages, message boards, websites, etc...and it's at work, in our family, at our schools, and sadly of all in our churches! Yes Church! We have people who go to church who love to talk about people and get and give the "scoop" on people. We do not think of the consequences, how it makes us look, how it makes God or the church look, or what affect it has on others.
Let me give you some examples. Just because a person has money, doesn't mean they got it illegally. Just because a person loves working with kids doesn 't mean they are a perv or pedofile. Just because a person is not married by a certain age doesn't mean they are gay. Just because a husband is friendly doesn't mean he's cheating on his wife. Just because a wife is outgoing doesn't mean she's a whore or a tease. Just because a person dresses a certain way doesnt' make them in a gang, a druggy, or a drunk? Just because a person is related to someone who is bad, doesn't mean they are. Skin color or nationality doesn't make a person a terrorist, a murderer, or a thief.
Do you see how we label people? Start rumors? Or spread lies? Just because we see something or hear something? It's sad, it's wrong, it's sinful! Stop it! If someone comes to you with gossip, let it end with you, and if you know this person is a gossip, stand up to them and tell them to stop spreading it.
If you want to know whether something is true about someone, go directly to the person and ask them or tell them what you heard so they can deal with it. If you hear people talking badly and unfairly about someone, defend that person if you know it's not true and stand up FOR them. We are just as guilty of gossip, if we don't end it, stop it, or stand up to it!
There is not one good quality about gossip. There is not one level of it that is ok or acceptable. The only way gossip is going to stop is if we stop being a party to it, do not have relationships with people who are gossips, and confront people when they are gossiping.
Gossip destroys communities, schools, work places, homes, churches, and lives. Sometimes it doesn't matter whether it's even true or not, enough people spread something around a person is guilty whether it's a false or not. We need to spread less gossip and spread more love. We need to put an end to godless chatter and start doing more good for others. Encourage and pray for people with your words. Help others, don't tear them down, talk about them behind their back, or run your mouth about them, especially when you know it's garbage.
Things are even worse now with technology, between texting, facebook, and the internet gossip spreads faster than ever before. Gossip doesn't honor God. It's still gossip even if it's true or even if you type it and you are still responsible for your actions and be judged by God for it.
Do you want to honor God with your lives? With your words? With your actions? Put an end to gossip! Stop slandering and spreading rumors about people. Let it end with you. Don't put up with it in your home, your church, or your lives! Gossip will stop when it has no where to go.
21 As charcoal to embers and as wood to fire,
so is a quarrelsome person for kindling strife.
22 The words of a gossip are like choice morsels;
they go down to the inmost parts.
23 Like a coating of silver dross on earthenware
are fervent[a] lips with an evil heart.