Why do we gossip?

Ever wonder why we gossip.  The Bible is pretty clear that Gossip is a sin (Rom. 1:28-32).  Why do we do it so often?  As we cover GOSSIP in our series called Acceptable Sins, we should take a hard look at why we even gossip, what our motives are.  By understanding these truths, we can put off the habit of Gossip, begin to think differently about it, and put on the habit of building up with our words.

Below are some thoughts on gossip and a list of 5 reason and explanations for why we gossip.  These statements are taken from a message delivered by Pastor David Whiting.  The link to the full message can be found here: Gossip: The Acceptable Christian Addiction

A COUPLE OF THOUGHTS ON GOSSIP

  1. Gossip says more about you than the person you are gossiping about

  2. Gossip is not saying things that are untrue or false, that is slander

  3. Gossip is using any unnecessary words that harm someone else’s reputation

5 REASONS WHY WE GOSSIP

1. We gossip because we are proud

For the sins of their mouths, for the words of their lips, let them be caught in their pride. For the curses and lies they utter...
Psalm 59:12

When we are proud we want to elevate ourselves and a typical way we do this is by tearing others down.  When we gossip, we are doing this exact thing because we are proud.

2. We gossip because we have too much time

Besides, they get into the habit of being idle and going about from house to house. And not only do they become idlers, but also busybodies who talk nonsense, saying things they ought not to.
1 Timothy 5:13
 
 Likewise, teach the older women to be reverent in the way they live, not to be slanderers ... but...to be busy at home...
Titus 2:3-5

Idleness and Gossip tend to go together. When we are just hanging out, the easiest thing to do is to gossip about someone else. The old statement is true, it takes 2 years to learn to talk, and it takes a lifetime to learn to control your own words. We have to really watch our words, especially when we have free time.

3. We gossip because it feels good

The words of a gossip are like choice morsels; they go down to the inmost parts.
Proverbs 18:8, Proverbs 26:22

It feels good to get the dirt on someone else. We like to share shocking news, we like to share bad news, we like to know something about someone else’s life.  Below is a quote that is so true. 

Some people will believe anything if it is whispered to them.
Miguel de Unamuno

4. We gossip because we are cowards

There is a group of people gathered for a religious festival in Jerusalem.  John 7:12-13 picks up this story

 Among the crowds there was widespread whispering about him. Some said, “He is a good man.” Others replied, “No, he deceives the people.” But no one would say anything publicly about him for fear of the leaders.

There is this idea that because we are afraid we whisper it to people because we don’t want this to be public.  The reality is that when we gossip, we are being vindictive cowards who want to hurt people, yet we don’t want to be held accountable for our words. If you punch someone, you go to jail for assault. If you verbally attack them or gossip about them, there is generally no legal penalty. Gossip is the signature of a coward. In fact if you hear someone gossip, try this on them, ask them “Really, is that true? Can I quote you on that?”  Almost every time someone is gossiping to you they will back off real fast. Why? Because we don’t want to be held accountable for our words. Here are two truths;

  • A Coward is a Gossip and 
  • A Gossip is a Coward

5. We gossip because the tongue is untamable

When we put bits into the mouths of horses to make them obey us, we can turn the whole animal. Or take ships as an example. Although they are so large and are driven by strong winds, they are steered by a very small rudder wherever the pilot wants to go. Likewise, the tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts. Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark. The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole body, sets the whole course of one’s life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell. All kinds of animals, birds, reptiles and sea creatures are being tamed and have been tamed by mankind,  but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison.

James 3:3-8

This is really bad news, but these verses tell us the truth, even though it is hard to hear. We live in a fallen world and we are sinners.  Because we are sinners we will struggle with our words and with gossip because we have mouths. There is a proverb that says "Where words are many sin is not absent."

So those are 5 reasons why we gossip, but what results will gossiping bring?  

Check out the Next post: What Does Gossip Do?