Tuesday, August 27

What Makes Gossip?

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.

  1. Is it knowingly false?
  2. Is it unverified? Unless the information comes straight from the source, don't say it.
  3. Does it pass the open door test? Would you say it if the person was in the room?
  4. Is it unnecessary or idle chatter? Does it serve a purpose?
  5. Consider your intentions for wanting the information- are they Godly?
Reader 'Write-In' Rules (thanks to all those ladies who read and gave suggestions!)

  1. Have express permission before sharing a personal detail.
  2. When it doubt say "bless him/her" and move on in the conversation.
  3. 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."


  1. We are not gossiping, we are taking prayer requests!

  2. Hi Cameron! Sometimes gossiping sounds a lot like trading information, so I like your list! 'Serving a purpose' is a really good gut-check. I always want to build up, and not tear down.

    Good post today!

  3. Great checklist - thanks for sharing!

    My late Mom (a Pastor's wife) used to tell this joke, "There once was a woman who was a horrible gossip. Her gossip really disrupted things at her Church. One day, her pastor decided he had enough. He preached a sermon on gossip, with her in mind. All of the illustrations were things she had done. He looked straight at her several times. When the sermon was over, she walked up to him, shook his hand, and said, "Great Sermon, Pastor! Too bad the people who NEEDED it weren't here!""

    This is a very difficult sin to diagnose in ourselves!

  4. I make it a personal policy not to pass along anything someone says without express permission. I assume that anything a person tells me was meant for my ears alone. If I need to pass it along, I always ask. Of course, if someone were intent on hurting herself or someone else, I'd have to pass it along, but only to someone who could help the situation.

  5. Good points, especially number 3. I'd add number 6 -- if you're tempted to say, "Bless her/his heart," after the sentence, it's probably best to actually bless the person and refrain from speaking about them.

    Odd -- most of the time a little voice in screaming inside of us not to speak up, and we override it!

    1. Love this... your #6 made me laugh... that's so true!

  6. This is great. My favorite "test" is if you'd say it with the person in the room. It's tough. And it's a struggle too to make sure you're not acting self-righteous when you shut down a conversation that has turned to gossip.

  7. This is such a tricky things...sometimes it's so hard to even figure out our own motivations! Your guidelines are great! Thanks for this post.

  8. Great list & I would add....I always ask a person if it is OK to share what I have been told. Gossip is very tricky & there is a fine line in a conversation between what is & what is not gossip. I am visiting from Teach Me Tues.
    Have a great Tuesday!

    1. That's a great tip! I'll definitely add it to the mental checklist!

  9. This is such a good post! Thanks so much for sharing it.

  10. Congratulations! This post receive the most view during A Little R & R Wednesdays. It will be featured on tomorrow's post. Blessings! Rosilind - A Little R & R:

    1. Wonderful! Ironic that the post on gossip was most 'gossiped' about!

  11. "We are not gossiping, we are taking prayer requests!" That response made me laugh because it seems to come up often! It's so easy to blur the line between gossip and genuine motivation to help.

    Great post - found your blog on the Teach Me Tuesdays Link-up :)

    1. Thanks for visiting! Yes, the fine line is blurry but made clearer with the light of Scripture.

  12. I do love the "taking prayer requests" line because it is SO often used to justify gossip! I have one friend who I trust implicitly who I can go to and say, "There is someone who needs prayer" and she never asks for details or even who the prayer is for. We just immediately sit and pray because the LORD knows the details even if we don't! It's just so much better that way.

    On the other hand, there is another lady at our church who I HATE it when she sidles up to me with information that someone needs prayer. She says just enough to imply a TON of horrible stuff and then says, "Oh, but I can't tell you more, I don't have permission"... sheesh, then don't say anything at all. She wields "prayer" like a weapon to talk about how other people are failing and falling short.

  13. Thanks so much for this post! It was the most viewed post at Wisdom Wednesdays last week, and will be shared on my Facebook page and Twitter today! I hope you'll swing by again and link up today! Blessings!

  14. Here is a poem I wrote for my Cowboy Church--thought you would like it.

    July 19, 2012
    Evelyn Edgett

    Maisie Mason owned the Bucket General Store,
    And she did a good business there in the western clime.
    Everyone loved to come shop and visit,
    And share the town’s news, oh, they had a wonderful time.
    Sometimes the talk was of deaths, births and weddin’s,
    Or who’d bought a new buggy horse.
    But sometimes the talk turned to plain ol’ gossip,
    And it was usually mean spirited, of course.
    One night after Maisie closed up the shop,
    Locked the doors and blew out the lanterns that hung from a beam,
    She went to her rooms at the back of the store,
    Went to bed, and then she began to dream.
    She dreamed of a hand comin’ down from heaven,
    A finger pointin’ right straight at her heart.
    A voice said, “Maisie, repent of your gossipin’,
    Then child, you and me can make a new start.”
    Well, she woke up right quick, and getting’ up from her bed,
    She got dressed and paced until dawn.
    Then just at sunrise, Maisie lit out,
    And headed for the little church at the edge of the town.
    The preacher was on the front porch of the parsonage,
    Drinkin’ coffee and readin’ the Good Book.
    He saw Maisie and said a real quick prayer for wisdom,
    This woman was sure troubled, he could tell from her look.
    Maisie told him of her terrible dream,
    And said, “I wanted forgiveness, so I came to see you.”
    “Well, forgiveness comes from God, not me, so ask Him.
    But I do have somethin’ I want you to do.”
    “Go home, get a pillow and a sharp butcher knife,
    And go up there to Windy Ridge, you see.
    Cut that pillow open and watch what happens,
    Then you come back here to see me.”
    Well, Maisie thought it was quite odd,
    What the preacher had told her to do.
    But she got both items, went to Windy Ridge,
    Then she gutted that pillow clean through.
    When she went back to see the preacher,
    “What happened?”, he asked with a sad smile.
    Maisie said, “Well, Preacher, all you could see was feathers flyin’ all over,
    Why, some must have traveled over a mile.”
    “I see,” said the preacher, noddin’.
    “Now you must go back up there,
    And gather every single feather back up.
    Track them down, no matter where.”
    “But Preacher, that’s impossible!
    Those feathers went all through the air.
    No one could gather them together again.
    Why, just to start lookin’ I wouldn’t know where.”
    “I agree,” the preacher said quietly,
    And added with a powerful deep sigh.
    “Gossipy words, like those feathers, go all over,
    And you can’t take them back, no matter how hard you try.”


Thanks for commenting!