Said I Wasn’t Gonna Tell Anybody
(But I Couldn’t Keep It To Myself)
When you know something, do you want everyone else to know that you know? Perhaps you think, “Well, everyone else is going to find out anyway, so I might as well be the one to tell them.” Yes, it’s true that most news is going to spread like fire in a hay field on a windy day, but that is only because there are so many people out there who don’t care about others. “Where there is no wood, the fire goes out; And where there is no talebearer, strife ceases” (Proverbs 26:20). So, are you a fire-feeder, or a fire-stopper?
Sometimes people gossip with “good” intentions. They spread information to “warn” others. They tell tales about others to get advice on what to do about the situation. Some spread rumors they have heard because they are “concerned” about another person. But, all too often these are just excuses to justify the action of gossip.
What damage can gossip do? It separates friends. “He who covers a transgression seeks love, But he who repeats a matter separates friends” (Proverbs 17:9). Gossip destroys others’ trust in us. All of us know people to whom we can tell things…if we want everyone within five counties to hear about it. “A talebearer reveals secrets, But he who is of a faithful spirit conceals a matter” (Proverbs ). No one trusts one who is known to gossip. What kind of friend are you?
How can we stop gossip, or gossiping? First, “Whoever guards his mouth and tongue keeps his soul from troubles” (Proverbs ). We can also refuse to listen to this wicked talk, because listening is wicked too. “An evildoer listens to wicked lips, and a liar gives ear to a mischievous tongue” (Prov 17:4). Lastly, note those who gossip and avoid their company if they refuse to obey the Lord in this matter (I Thessalonians ,14).
Before you say anything about anyone, ask yourself, “Have I spoken with this person about this rumor,” and, “What are my motives in telling it?” We can do much good by the things we say, but we can also do damage that can be irreparable. How will you use your words?