A gossip can never keep a secret. Stay away from people who talk too much.
Do you have any friends that seem to spend an inordinate amount of time talking about other people? How often do you bring other people into your own conversations that aren’t there to join in…correct…or refute your assertions? When you and your spouse are talking, how much content is related to what you know about other people…or what you assert to be true? We all need to be alert when it comes to people who gossip, but we also need to be self-aware enough to know when that person is us.
The Hebrew word translated “gossip” in the Old Testament is defined as “one who reveals secrets, one who goes about as a talebearer or scandal-monger.” A gossiper is a person who has privileged information about people and proceeds to reveal that information to those who have no business knowing it.
Gossip is distinguished from sharing information in terms of its Intent – gossipers often have the goal of building themselves up by making others look bad – as well as the Type of Information Shared – gossipers speak of the faults and failings of others or reveal potentially embarrassing or shameful details regarding the lives of others without their knowledge or approval. Either way, a gossiper finds pleasure in bringing others down and acts like a sniper – attempting to pick their victims off from a safe distance.
Sadly, most of us have a significant amount of gossip imbedded in our normal conversations. It’s a sin that the bible speaks of harshly (Rom. 1:29-30) yet it’s rarely dealt with from the pulpit or confronted by most Christians. If you spend a lot of time with a gossip, neither one of you is safe from your own poison. You are likely to gossip about them at some point…and you can rest assured, on the authority of God’s Word, that they are probably already gossiping about you. We all need to stay away from gossips as well as making sure that we aren’t the gossiper ourselves.