There are things that strengthen relationships; these are relationship boosters. For example, spending quality time with a loved one, being available to help, giving gifts, praying for one another. There are also things that create cracks in relationships and tear people apart. Things like jealousy, constant friction and disagreement, being unrelenting and unforgiving. These are relationship destroyers.
Let’s look at one relationship destroyer, we often overlook – Gossip. We have all been victims of harmful lies that have been told against us. We know what it feels like for colleagues, friends and even family members to say unpleasant things about us behind our backs. We too, can’t plead not guilty when it comes to gossip. We have at some point shared information that was told us in confidence which we should have kept to ourselves.
Here are 4 reasons why we shouldn’t gossip about family members, friends, colleagues, church members or anyone at all:
- Gossip is being a blabbermouth that spreads true and untrue, verified and unverified information that can cause pain, hurt and damage to another person (Proverbs 12:18). Some people feel if what I am saying is true, it isn’t gossip, it doesn’t matter if I tell another person, so long as it is the truth. But what we should ask ourselves, when sharing information about another person whether it is true or not is will the person I am disclosing this information to do anything helpful and useful with it? Would I be happy if a similar thing is said about me or done to me? If we pass our conversations through this yardstick, we would talk less, which is actually a good thing considering that the Bible says too much talk leads to sin (Proverbs 10:19).
2. Gossip is being a chatterbox and newsmonger that goes around revealing secrets. Gossip is hurting people by betraying their trust (Proverbs 20:19). People are going through a lot. The fact that you see someone gaily dressed doesn’t mean the person has no cares, worries or issues. Everyone needs a shoulder to lean on, someone to share their burdens with, not someone that will put the load of betrayal on them. Don’t be a relationship destroyer; don’t be a gossip that reveals secrets that can scatter relationships (Proverbs 16:28).
3. Gossip is being the matchstick that lights up a quarrel, the fuel that keeps the flames of a quarrel burning. In any relationship, no matter how close two people are, there will be disagreements and quarrels at some point. Behind every unresolved and protracted disagreement, there is gossip brewing somewhere (Proverbs 26:20). It’s hard for a quarrel to die down, when tongues are wagging. God has called us to live peaceably with all people. Gossip and peace don’t see eye to eye; they are headed in two opposite directions. If you want to tread the path of peace, avoid gossip.
4. Gossip can land you in serious trouble with God and with people (Proverbs 21:23, Matthew 12:36). You never know how some people will react to things said about them, the one that can get violent with you, the one that can give a bad report about you when you need a good word put in for you. To keep yourself out of trouble, keep gossip away from your tongue. Words matter to God, our words will come under God’s judgment. You don’t want to stand before God and in view of some of the negative and harmful things you said about another person, you have to cower in shame. Don’t join the gossip bandwagon no matter how important the person driving the bandwagon is or how juicy the gist being carried on the wagon is, rather do and say things that will make you stand with confidence before God any day, any time.