Gossip is defined as casual or unconstrained conversation or reports about other people, typically involving details that are not confirmed as true. For my discussion on this subject, it does not matter if the facts are true or false, as God’s Word reveals to us that we should avoid both Tit 3:2; Pr 11:13.
Noah planted a vineyard and after drinking some wine became drunk and lay uncovered inside his tent Gen 9:20,21. Ham, one of Noah’s three sons saw his father’s nakedness and told his two brothers Gen 9:22. (Here we know that Ham told the truth to his brothers, however, we do not know Noah’s motives: did he drink unwittingly and got drunk, or did he do this knowingly of the consequences?). Instead of participating in sin with Ham and telling others, Shem and Japheth took a garment and walked in backward and covered their father’s nakedness Gen 9:23. When Noah found out what Ham had done, he cursed Ham’s family line while blessing Shem’s and Japheth’s Gen 9:25,26,27. Another reason to avoid gossip is to prevent any damage to your relationship with this person. If the person who was gossiped about, found out what you had said, and even if it was true, he would still have a trust problem with you. God tells us to be at peace with everyone as much as it depends upon us and gossip definitely would violate this command Ro 12:18.
The Bible teaches us that we should love others deeply, for love covers a multitude of sins, protects that person’s character, whereas hate (gossip) stirs up more trouble 1 Pe 4:8; Pr 10:12. The sin of gossip keeps on giving by stirring up ill feelings, ruining relationships and destroying our Christian witness. God desires us to be merciful just as He is merciful Lk 6:36. We are told not to judge others Lk 6:37 for God does not judge us (believers) Jn 3:18 as he judged Jesus instead of us Isa 53:5; 1 Pe 2:24. He tells us not to condemn others Lk 6:37 for there is no longer any condemnation for us Ro 8:1. He also says for us to forgive others Lk 6:37 the way Jesus has forgiven us Eph 4:32 and finally, He tells us, if we give mercy to others it will be given back to us by the same measure we use Lk 6:38.
To cover over another’s sin does not mean that we pretend it does not exist, or trivialize it, exactly the opposite. True agape love wants to see sin eradicated from everyone’s life, including ours, so if God places us in the position to restore this sinner, then we do this gently knowing we too are sinners Gal 6:1. If we are able to turn this sinner from his error, we have truly covered a multitude of sins Jas 5:19,20. Jesus gives us an excellent example with the woman that was caught in adultery. The Pharisees wanted Jesus to condemn her also, according to the Law Jn 8:5. He refused, but after he had covered up her sin, he heeded her to leave her life of sin Jn 8:11.
One way to distinguish ourselves as true Christ followers is to not participate in any type of gossip, which means not only agreeing not to spread it, but not to listen to any. What probably will happen is that we will lose quite a few friends who enjoy gossiping because it uplifts their self-esteem by degrading someone else’s character. When we avoid this sin, it will make gossipers uncomfortable and they will either be convicted to stop gossiping because of our actions or to avoid us, so that they can get this need met from other people, who like to participate in this type of sin Pr 18:8.
As Christians, we are to be a light for the darkness Mt 5:14. By avoiding gossip we can show the world that Christ does make a difference in the way we live and love others. A person whose sin we have covered will probably react as Noah did, and bless us for our deep love for them. Remember, the measure of mercy we use will be the measure we receive, both from man and God.
Song: Give Love