17 Aug Dangers of Modern-Day Gossiping
We live in a digital world and modern-day gossiping is something that affects each and every one of us, so it’s important to know the meaning of gossiping according to the Bible as well as its consequences.
WHAT IS GOSSIPING?
- talking eagerly about other people and their private matters
- usually done in their absence, need not be always in a negative manner
- often mentioning details which are not confirmed as true, and could tarnish their image or reputation
‘I tell you, on the day of judgement you will have to give an account for every careless word you utter; for by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.’ (Matthew 12:36-37)
Our generation has access to technology of every kind, and with the help of the internet we can connect with a lot more people than our ancestors could. It’s become much easier to gossip and much easier to sin. We cannot generalise and say gossiping is one sin – if you gossiped with one person it would only be one sin, but if you gossiped with five people it would be five sins. Social media can easily multiply this sin – it only takes a few seconds to post something which many people will be able to see. Even after you repent and confess your sins, if people are still seeing what you posted then you’re still committing sin. You need to delete or take back everything you’ve said, then admit you made a mistake and apologize.
Should We Stay Away From Social Media?
People try to stay away from social media because it can be sinful. If someone is in danger of sinning through social media, it is advisable to keep aloof from it. But if all the good people in the world keep away from it, how would we change the world or world of social media? If you have social media, use it for good and share the Word of God. Nowadays, we can tell what type of person someone is by their social media profile. Be careful with how you use social media – think about why you use it and how you portray yourself. Are you more interested in pleasing others or pleasing God? Do you only post personal things, or do you use your social media to evangelise? If most of your friends or followers are not religious, it’s all the more reason to share your faith. Don’t be ashamed to post about Jesus, and don’t be afraid of losing your friends when you stand for truth.
WHY GOSSIPING IS SO DANGEROUS:
- Those who gossip will be destroyed
When we commit sin, God leaves us, just like in the Old Testament when King Saul committed sin and the spirit of God departed from him, then an evil spirit came and tormented him. If God leaves us, it’s equal to destroying us; in fact, it’s the biggest destruction we can cause in our lives. According to the Word of God, if you gossip, destruction is for sure.
‘One who secretly slanders a neighbour I will destroy. A haughty look and an arrogant heart I will not tolerate.’ (Psalm 101:5) – this is David speaking; God does not approve of gossip and neither does David.
2. Death is in the power of the tongue
The power of the tongue is measured by the damage it can do or the goodness it can bring. Words have power – God spoke the world into being, Jesus is the Word made flesh. Since human beings are made in the image of God, our words have power too. We can use them to bless (and bring life) or curse (and bring death), and in return we will receive good or evil accordingly. Those that love the tongue, i.e. love to gossip, will deal with the consequences of their words.
‘Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruits.’ (Proverbs 18:21). ‘I tell you, on the day of judgement you will have to give an account for every careless word you utter; for by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.’ (Matthew 12:36-37)
3. Gossip is juicy and irresistible
The easiest way to carry on a conversation is to gossip about other people. Many people don’t have anything else to talk about. Others simply love to gossip, and need someone to either listen to them or join in. It’s something that comes naturally to us and is incredibly hard to resist, which is why we need to be so careful. Once you enter into such conversations, it is a world of sin and we become part of it. We will go through the consequence of it.
‘The words of a whisperer are like delicious morsels; they go down into the inner parts of the body.’ (Proverbs 18:8)
4. Even if you don’t gossip, you could still be an evildoer and a liar
If we listen to gossip, we’re just as bad as the person speaking it. People who gossip continue to do so because they have someone who listens to them. It’s not enough that we don’t gossip, we also shouldn’t listen to it.
‘An evildoer listens to wicked lips; and a liar gives heed to a mischievous tongue.’ (Proverbs 17:4)
5. If you gossip, God will give you up
We indulge in gossip when God is not our priority. When we are not ready to acknowledge Him, He gives up and leaves us to our wicked ways.
‘And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind and to things that should not be done. They were filled with every kind of wickedness…they are gossips, slanderers…’ (Romans 1:28-31)
WHAT SHOULD AND WHAT SHOULDN’T YOU DO?
- The media spreads gossip and lies, but if we know the truth which are not maligning any body’s personal life but instead it protects their lives, then it is our duty to share it. If you know the truth and do not share it, you’re committing a sin. ‘Anyone, then, who knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, commits sin.’ (James 4:17)
- Be strong; resist the temptation to even listen to gossip. If your friends are gossiping you could explain that it’s wrong, change the subject, or just leave. ‘My child, if sinners entice you, do not consent.’ (Proverbs 1:10)
- Do not associate yourself with gossipers; instead pray for them. ‘A gossip reveals secrets; therefore, do not associate with a babbler.’ (Proverbs 20:19)
- ‘Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes on those who are disobedient. Therefore, do not be associated with them…Try to find out what is pleasing to the Lord. Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them.’ (Ephesians 5:6-7, 5:10-11)
WHY DO PEOPLE GOSSIP?
- To feel superior
- Out of boredom / they have nothing better to talk about
- Out of envy
- To belong to a group – they don’t want to feel out of place, so they join in
- To gain attention – by bringing new gossip that no one has heard yet
- Out of anger or hatred
- Out of unhappiness
- To feel better about themselves
‘It was He who created humankind in the beginning, and He left them in the power of their own free choice. If you choose, you can keep the commandments, and to act faithfully is a matter of your own choice. He has placed before you fire and water; stretch out your hand for whichever you choose. Before each person are life and death, and whichever one chooses will be given.’ (Sirach 15:14-17)
IF YOU’RE STRUGGLING WITH THE SIN OF GOSSIP, REPEAT THESE BIBLE VERSES EVERY DAY:
Psalm 139:23-24 – ‘Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my thoughts. See if there is any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.’
Philippians 2:5-8 – ‘Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus, who, though He was in the form of God, did not regard equality with God as something to be exploited, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a slave, being born in human likeness. And being found in human form, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death – even death on a cross.’
Philippians 4:8 – ‘Finally, beloved, whatever is true, whatever is honourable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is pleasing, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.’
(Based on a talk by Fr Joseph – if you would like to listen to the full talk, please click here: https://youtu.be/MivK6DU_Pm0)