3 Ways to Kill Gossip

You don’t tolerate gossip in the church. You slaughter it.

If you don’t, it’ll slaughter sheep.

There are few more sinister and Satanic assaults on the inside of the church than gossip. Like a parasitic demon, it often creeps in under the guise of victimhood; whispering to its host, “You really need to share your hurts and opinions with someone. It’s the Christian thing to do.”

Gossip also offers its wisdom like a warm blanket; surrounding the cold and hurting soul with warm and self-centered words saying, “You can’t go the person you’re talking about. Go to someone who will really understand you and who really needs to know.” 

And so, like a lamb being led to the slaughter, the gossiper falls under the alluring power of Lucifer’s minions and begins to cannibalize the flock. All the while, dehumanizing the target of conversation and adding horrific caricatures along the way. Whether through the seed of bitterness, emotional venting, or purposeful slander, gossip works tirelessly to sink its teeth into open hearts.

Gossip is a venomous imposter you’ve likely become all-too-familiar with in your local church. And it’s one we need to kill — quickly, and often.

Here’s how:

1. Tell the person you refuse to hear it. Seriously! Do their heart and your church a favor and shut it down. Walk away. Turn your head. Lose a friend. Guard purity. Protect Christ’s bride. When you entertain gossip under the “holy” banner of helping a fellow member of the flock, you become a party to the sin and enter the slaughter house alongside them. It can especially deadly when you don’t even know if what they’re saying is true. When deception and gossip get married, they birth something deadly that can only come from the “Father of Lies” (John 8:44).  God hates sowing discord, devising wicked plans, bearing false witness and lying, along with one who spreads strife among brothers (Proverbs 6:16-19). It’s always wise to take heed when wearing the label of what God hates.

2. Tell the person they need to go to the person they are gossiping about, or you will. Once again, you’re not winning any popularity contests for this one but you will be pleasing Christ and doing the right thing. Sound hard? It is. But since when is doing right thing guaranteed to be easy? In the end, all sin can be repented of, and sinners restored! Go with the promise of 1 John 1:9 over people pleasing. It may sting a bit, but like treating a wound the right way, exhorting others to engage in a Biblical process and proper healing measures can reduce the likelihood of a nasty scar.

3. Enact church discipline directly at the source(s). Gossip is serious sin. It wants to ruin your marriage, your witness, your family, your friendships, your future, and your church. Matthew 18:15-17 is one of the best ways to send the sin of gossip back to where it came from. When truth reigns, sin must run! Over and over again, God’s word is clear when it comes to gossip. Paul exhorted the church on numerous occasions to speak “only what is helpful for building others up” (Ephesians 4:29). Proverbs 16:28 reminds us that only perverse people stir up conflict and that “gossip separates close friends.” Church discipline doesn’t always mean a full blown member meeting, but it does mean going to the source of gossip and beginning to deal with it from there. If it’s already spreading like venom through the veins of the church, paralysis — or even death — is a serious possibility. Only the power of the Holy Spirit working through the obedience of believers can change the situation. Do whatever it takes to bring everything into the light.

For a resource that offers biblical and practical wisdom for dealing gossip, read Resisting Gossip: Winning the War of the Wagging Tongue.

11 replies
  1. Julia Pomeroy
    Julia Pomeroy says:

    Long before I became a Christian (at the age of 32) I hated gossip, my mother seemed addicted to it and I could see the damage it was doing.
    What you have written Costi, is excellent and really needs to be said from every pulpit in the land. In this area I am sad to say it is us women who are the most guilty, almost salivating when told some tasty morsel or other about somebody, especially if that ‘somebody’, in your eyes, considers themselves better than you. This is why I have always hated gossip, I do not like to hear it, even if it is true. I do not need to know who has slept with who or who has abused children, or who is sexually impure – interesting how the sins that are most gossiped about, it is the sexual ones as these words came to my mind.
    I implore everybody, search your hearts, see if you are guilty of this sin and ask God to forgive you because, if you have not been forgiven you have left the door to your heart open a crack and the enemy will be in there like a shot.

    Reply
    • Kim
      Kim says:

      I hope you take this as a means to help you in your battle against gossip, as stated in both of your comments. In your declaration here of being anti-gossip, I noticed that you gossiped about your mother. She can be identified by anyone who knows you. You exposed her sin to others – that is gossip. Gossip is so insidious and it takes our gracious Lord’s light to expose our foolish sinful hearts.
      The book that is suggested at the end of the article – Resisting Gossip: Winning the War of the Wagging Tongue by Matthew C Mitchell says the biblical definition of the sin of gossip is bearing bad news behind someone’s back out of a bad heart.” Is there a possiblity you have bad feelings towards your mother? I know that when I pass along some tidbit about my mom that makes her look bad, it reveals that my heart is very wrong and I need to repent. The book seems like a great help to all interested and convicted on this subject. May we and all Christ’s church be forgiven, changed and freed from our gossipy hearts.

      Reply
  2. Kovács Zsuzsanna
    Kovács Zsuzsanna says:

    Igen. A pletykák által esnek szét vagy erőtlenülnek el az egyházak, Krisztus Teste. Sátán pedig boldog és uralkodik. Szomorú, de így van.

    Reply
  3. Barbara
    Barbara says:

    I’d love to see a good biblical definition of gossip. All talking about other people’s issues or sins is not gossip–Paul speaks of many people’s wrongs in his epistles. He names names. He wanted to warn others about these people. So is motivation the main distinguishing factor between gossip and legitimate discussion of other people? Or is it whether the information is strictly necessary?

    Reply
    • Kim
      Kim says:

      Yes, Paul does name others and their sins but I disagree that it was “many.” I would urge you to get the book suggested at the end of the article by Matthew C. Mitchell, or at least just read the sample “Look Inside” in Amazon. In the sample, the author states under the titled paragraph The Allure of Gossip that “gossip is hard to define….When is it ok to talk about others and when is it wrong?” Then he says he will offer a biblically based definition and also answers to why we gossip. I think gossip involves a much more subtle, more encompassing arena in our hearts than Costi’s article suggests but wow! he nails it about how evil it is and must be rid of at all cost. We must put it away from us and need much help from the Holy Spirit. Your comment about having “legitmate discussion of other people” needs much prayer and seeking the Lord for truth. I Cor 13 is our guide of how to talk about others.

      Reply
  4. Julia Pomeroy
    Julia Pomeroy says:

    Personally I think it is both, first of all the heart is above all things dangerously deceitful and we really do have to explore our motives before passing on information which could easily not be true especially if we have not ascertained whether it is true or not. Secondly when we read Matthew 18 and the way to sort an issue out, it starts off as being very private just you and the one whom you believe has sinned against you or whom you have sinned against. If that is not effective then you take two other witnesses, again privately, it is only in the very last instance that it is revealed to the whole church. For example I can tell people that, as a child, I was subjected to the attentions of paedophiles – this is not gossip because it is part of my testimony on how God has healed me, I have not mentioned names nor have I gone into detail. However, were I to wish to keep this private but, through gossip, you hear about it and tell somebody else then the fact that it is true still renders it as being gossip – because you did not need to know. Do you get what I am driving at? This is one of those issues where the Holy Spirit will guide you and knowledge of the whole counsel of God and what He is like (this you learn by continually reading the whole of the Bible) will show you that ‘gossip’ is usually slander and unless you have been directly affected by something it is no business of yours.

    Reply

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