“Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people.” – Eleanor Roosevelt
The power of gossip lies in the power of tongue. What cursing does to dilute the effective power of our words, gossips does to our relationships. Gossip brings a wedge into the relational dynamic of a community. Reputations can be ruined or jaded because of gossip.
Humans have a natural affinity for gossip. We like to talk about other people in a way that exposes their weaknesses. Why is this? Because it brings a perceived level of justification to the one who is gossiping or hearing gossip. Simply, it moves our flesh in a self-gratifying way.
There is an insatiable itch in the human heart to be accepted, received, and celebrated. Rather that finding that desire satisfied in the Lord, we bring that praise to ourselves in a round-a-bout way by speaking negatively (though truthfully) about those around us. When we say of someone, “They are really lacking in some areas,” aren’t we really saying, “Look at me, I’m not like them, I don’t have those flaws”?
Gossip is talking truthfully about someone when that person is not present. Scripture tells us to speak the truth in love. Over and over we see Jesus speaking the truth in love (though it can bite) in the very presence of those whom He talking about. Gossip is afraid of conflict. It cares little that a person is changed and renewed. Gossip, though speaking of someone else, is quite self-centered; it has little to do with that person, loving them, or helping them grow and mature.
We are the body of Christ. If the eye despises the hand then the body cannot operate in continuity with the mind and heart. The eye can see what the hand cannot, but the hand can remove from the eye what is ailing. Gossip is when the eye refuses to help the hand and the hand refuses to help the eye.
How then shall we live? Repent of the times that we have gossiped against our brothers and sisters. Invite the Holy Spirit into our thoughts during conversation, “Are these words pleasing to You, Lord?” Make it an aim to praise others and encourage them in their presence.