Words are like bullets- you can't take them back. Several years ago the Lord put on my heart to never gossip... but what exactly is gossip? There are over 35 different bible passages referencing gossip, but it can be difficult to judge what exactly is friendly 'catching up' and what makes gossip. Below are some general guidelines to follow. In no way are they comprehensive for every situation, but they provide a good guideline.
- Is it knowingly false?
- Is it unverified? Unless the information comes straight from the source, don't say it.
- Does it pass the open door test? Would you say it if the person was in the room?
- Is it unnecessary or idle chatter? Does it serve a purpose?
- Consider your intentions for wanting the information- are they Godly?
- Have express permission before sharing a personal detail.
- When it doubt say "bless him/her" and move on in the conversation.
- Pray for that person rather than speculating.
Of course, consider Scripture. Proverbs alone offers 12 verses on gossip. Ephesians 4:29 offers,
"Let no corrupting talk come out of your moths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear."