The Sin of Gossip

Romans 1:29-32

And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done. They were filled with all manner of unrighteousness, evil, covetousness, malice. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, maliciousness. They are gossips, slanderers, haters of God, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless. Though they know God’s righteous decree that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them.

Let’s not sugarcoat this. I say that because gossip in our local bodies of believers tends to be minimized, scoffed at, and dismissed as a not so serious thing. Anybody ever sidled up to their friend and said with a smirky little smile on their face, “Oh, I don’t mean to gossip, but…..?” That is what I am talking about, and I know most readers can see that in their minds. The reason most of us can see that in our minds is that we have either done it or participated in it willingly. I have. If you have not, raise your cyber hand. If you raised it you are likely, as the old joke goes, guilty of the sin of lying also now.

What is typically our reaction when confronted with such a situation on our Christian lives? I would venture to say the in 99.99 percent of the cases, we with go along willingly and participate, or go along by remaining silent and allowing the conversation to continue. Perhaps in that .1 percent, some person might say, “Hey, wait, stop! I don’t’ want to participate in this, because it’s simply wrong.” Let’s rephrase our sin a little bit and see how we would feel about things then. Picture these conversations:

“Hey, how about we head down to the bar and have us a few beers before we come back for evening service?”

“Hey, deacon, let’s me and you go to the lake and check out the girls in bikinis.”

“Hey, friend, let’s find somebody weak and vulnerable and pick on them until they cry.”

“Hey, business buddy, I have a great scheme going and if you come in we can make just a pile of money. It’s not really honest, but we can make piles!”

Now, I would like to think that most of us would not only not go along with the things described above, but would likely call the person out on the sinfulness of their suggestion.

Now might be a good time for me to point out that what I feel as I write this is NOT smugness or that I am entitled to point my bony finger at readers; what I feel as I write this is CONVICTION.

Gossip is not fun, it is not harmless chatter, and it is not minor. Gossip is sin. How does it rank in the order of the sin hierarchy? That’s a trick question, as there IS no sin hierarchy.

James 2:10 For whoever keeps the whole law but fails in one point has become accountable for all of it.

One sin, that is all it takes. If the only sin we ever committed in our entire lives was to spread a single questionable or untrue thing about another, we would be separated from God as surely as if we had spent a lifetime as a mass murderer. Ouch huh? Please understand that our gossip and our mass murder are all forgivable due to the actions of our perfect sacrifice, Jesus Christ.

Why, then do we virtually ignore the sin of gossip in our ranks and yet rail endlessly about the other things we have chosen to be our “pet” sins? Could it be that we find certain other sins personally distasteful, but enjoy our gossiping? Let’s be nice to ourselves and say that is not our motivation. Let us say we are motivated by the fact that, even though sin is sin, some things do cause more harm to other people and the world around us than other things cause. Fair enough. Gossip isn’t really THAT harmful, right?

Let’s talk about that. Because, of course, it is harmful and we will be discussing that soon. In the meantime, I would love to hear from readers on their experiences and thoughts about the harm caused by gossip.