The Scriptures and Gossip

By Louis Sharp

The gossipers oft’ begin their tales of woe with well-worn phrases, such as, “They say.” or “Have you heard?” or apologetically, “I hate to tell you this, but. . .” And thus, the tale unfolds. One might rationalize that the Bible is silent on this subject, as gossip is so widespread. Yet, the very opposite is true. I will cite but a few of the many passages.

“Thou shalt not go up and down as a talebearer among thy people: neither shalt thou stand against the blood of thy neighbour; I am the Lord.” The verse following is very revealing. “Thou shalt not hate thy brother in thine heart” (Lev. 19:16-17).

“These six things doth the Lord hate: yea, seven are an abomination unto him: A proud look, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, an heart that deviseth wicked imaginations, feet that be swift in running to mischief, a false witness that speaketh lies, and he that soweth discord among brethren” (Prov. 6:16-19).

Still, in Proverbs: “He that hideth hatred with lying lips, and he that uttereth a slander, is a fool” (10:18). “A fool’s mouth is his destruction, and his lips are the snare of his soul. The words of a talebearer are as wounds, and they go down into the innermost parts of the belly” (18:7-8).

Continuing with Solomon, in Proverbs 20, we read: “It is an honour for a man to cease from strife: but every fool will be meddling” (v. 3). He that goeth about as a talebearer revealeth secrets: therefore meddle not with him that flattereth with his lips (v. 19). And in chapter 26: “Where no wood is, there the fire goeth e” t: so where there is no talebearer, the strife ceaseth” (v. 20).

Concerning the listener, we are reminded that “a wicked doer giveth heed to false lips; and a liar giveth ear to a naughty tongue” (17:4).

Tattlers and gossipers are meddlers in other men’s affairs. God will judge. Our blessed Lord taught, “A good man out of the good treasure of the heart bringeth forth good things: and an evil man out of the evil treasure bringeth forth evil things. But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment” (Matt. 12:35-36).

Let us carefully and prayerfully guard our speech!

Guardian of Truth XXXVIII: 15, p. 4
August 4, 1994