Tuesday, April 1, 2008

zip it

Exactly what is gossip?
Merriam Webster says this:1 : a person who habitually reveals personal or sensational facts about others
2 a: rumor or report of an intimate nature b: a chatty talk
I was thinking about this because I was thinking of someone I knew who is in prison and I wondered "does so-and-so know that so-and-so is in prison?"  Then I realized that it would probably be gossip for me to say so.   But, if I tell someone that another someone we know has joined the military and is stationed in Iraq, that doesn't seem so gossipy.  
Is it just the nature of the information?  If it's positive, its ok, but if its negative, its gossip?  Someone had a baby!  Yay!  Someone is getting a divorce.  Shhhh.
Definitely untruths and rumors are gossip.  But what if we know something for a fact?  The dictionary says personal or intimate things.  Well, isn't having a baby rather personal or intimate?  We know that slander, backbiting and deliberately trying to cause hurt are wrong.  Anybody have any more insight on this that I do?
Let me see what the Bible has to say about it. Ok, well.  It doesn't help much with defining it, other than some verses in Proverbs that define it as betraying a confidence.  The Bible certainly comes down hard on it, including it in lists that are full of "terrible" sins. Things we probably wouldn't consider doing.In 1 Timothy it is associated with being a busybody.In the NASB the word malicious is frequently found before the word gossip.  And in Proverbs it says not to even hang out with one.
Ok, so gossip is very bad.  It involves breaking confidence or being a busy body.  But I'm still not sure where that line is?  If it could cause harm then its gossip?  Is that a good guideline? Does anyone have any thoughts?
Notice I'm not even going to touch "chatty talk." 


  1. This is my guideline ~ if I cannot tell other people with that person sitting next to me then it probably is something to keep to myself.

  2. I think a lot of it is in the motive of our heart in sharing the information. Sharing about someone's pregnancy could be a wonderful happy thing, but if you are sharing because you know her husband was in Iraq during the time she conceived that is another story.

    Many times we just know part of the story and that part might not give enough information. I think most times its best not to share info unless we are sharing out of joy for another - again its all in the motive of our heart.

    I've also heard prayer requests given that make me uncomfortable for the object of the prayer. Its a fine line though...because if its with an accountability partner it may be necessary to share your part in a particular problem and then pray for the whole situation. But if you are sharing just to make the other party look bad... on and on and on...

  3. It's been my experience MANY a time, unfortunately, that a prayer request is actually a veiled way to gossip.It's a toughie to confront, though, since the information was given with the intent, or under the guise, of asking for prayer for a person.
    I wonder, when it comes to Christians dealing with other Christians, if the person with the prayer request should be the only one requesting it. Prayers for non-Believers...that feels like a different issue to me.

  4. I think gossip is a real sneaky trick of the devil. We fall into it because we want to feel important or have something to say on the topic. We don't stop to think if it should be said first, is it important? or is it just something we want to tell first. And what about listening to gossip? Just as bad? I think so...but soooo hard sometimes.

  5. Yeah, those prayer requests like this. "Pray for So and So. Her husband may be cheating on her."

  6. I think it has everything to do with motives. Why do I want to tell my friend something I know (even if it's a fact) about someone else? If it's because of a genuine, caring concern, then sharing it is probably okay, but if it's because it's a juicey bit of info and I want to talk about it, then maybe that's just selfish.


I love to hear your thoughts!