I once heard my mum say, “Atumia na mucene ni ta mobaniirio hamwe.” (It’s like women and gossip were created together) Sometimes we (women) talk too much, give more information than needed and/or pretend to be concerned about someone, justifying our reason for talking about them.
I have personally had to intentionally keep off from anything with the appearance of gossip. Sometimes I haven’t succeeded. When I’ve not I have asked God for forgiveness. This thing does not edify both the speaker and the one being spoken about.
Gossip and slander are closely related. They are siblings I guess. Wikipedia defines gossip as idle talk or rumor, especially about the personal or private affairs of others. Slander on the other hand is a false spoken statement that is made to cause people to have a bad opinion of someone.
Gossip is ugly. Last week I heard two women gossip and the reality of its ugliness hit me hard. Why would anyone pleasure in bad-mouthing others? Why does other people’s information itch us so bad? Why don’t we just mind our business and stop peeping our noses in their lives? Is it so hard not live gossip free? We may not like some people at times. But why should we talk about them?
Many relationships have been broken and many hearts wounded out of this vice. Confidence and trust have been betrayed. Even worse, the name of God has been profaned because of gossip.
The truth is that we are sinners who live in a fallen world. In the fallen world we’ll meet many people who will cross our paths. Our first instinct will most likely be to talk ill about them. Because we are fallen, we are inclined towards sin, even so the sin of gossip. But shall it be so with the believers? Certainly not! (Ephesians: 4:29- Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.)
From time to time we may be asked to keep a secret. But then what do we do? We tell someone else and tell them not to tell anybody else. This becomes a chain that spreads the information to parties that were not supposed to know a thing about it. The person who entrusted us with the information may actually never get to know that we told someone else what was only for our ears. But that is not the right behavior. It’s being unfaithful and untrustworthy. (Proverbs 11:13- Whoever goes about slandering reveals secrets, but he who is trustworthy in spirit keeps a thing covered.)
People will behave indifferently to us and we’ll be pissed off. But it’s immature to talk about them. It’s mature to face them and express our disappointment as we also try to make peace. We may also hear someone whom we don’t like being spoken about. We are not to participate in any talk that will defame them.
The Bible (Hebrews 12) exhorts us to shed off every weight and the sin that so easily entangles. I like to imagine that gossip is among these sins that easily beset and entangles us. It’s like a disease or an addiction that affects mostly the female gender. Have you seen these women who gossip so readily? It’s like slander and gossip ooze out of them. They like to tell tall tales about others and they don’t mind their business. They fight over what one said about the other. Sadly, a good number of them are born again.
The Bible is very explicit about the sin of gossip. Romans 1:28-31 records, “And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done. They were filled with all manner of unrighteousness, evil, covetousness, malice. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, maliciousness. They are gossips, slanderers, haters of God, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, foolish, faithless, ruthless.” The sin of gossip and slander among others that are listed is for the rebellious and unrighteous!
Paul told the church at Colossae to put to death whatever was earthly in them. As we’ve already seen, gossip and slander are sinful and therefore belong to the sinful nature. We need to constantly mortify/put them to death. (Colossians 3:8- But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth.)
What implications does the verse above have? It means that through God’s help, we shall walk away from slander and gossip, we shall constrain the urge to gossip of speech we shall be careful to speak only that which edifies and brings honor to God. So help us God!
Severally in the scriptures, women have been instructed not to be slanderers and gossipers. Titus 2:3-4 states, “Likewise, teach the older women to be reverent in the way they live, not to be slanderers or addicted to much wine, but to teach what is good. Then they can urge the younger women to love their husbands and children. To be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the word of God.” Let’s not be busybodies who go about sayings things we ought not to as Paul in 1 Timothy 5 tells Timothy, pointing to the young widows. The deacons wives are exhorted to be dignified, not slanderers but sober-minded, faithful in all things. (1 Timothy 3:11)
Our religion is worthless if we do not keep tight rein on our tongues. (James 1:26) Whatever we wish would be done to us, let’s do also to others. (Mathew 7:12) Remember to keep in mind that we shall give an account of every careless word that we speak. (Mathew 12:36)