Dave Ramsey defines gossip as: “Any complaint passed to someone not in a position to fix the problem." Gossip is talking and complaining about people not in the room or unable to affect an outcome. Gossip is destructive and not just for its immediate effect. I can’t stand people that gossip! I have come to learn over the years that gossips are cowards. ALL of them! They present themselves as agents of change or the righteous elite, burdened with principle, but in reality they are scared little people. But if you REALLY have convictions, you will have the guts to confront the issue head on! It’s called courage and gossips are in critically short supply.
Probably the most dangerous effect a gossip can have is NOT in the short term, but in the long term. The gossips’ words are like seeds. They are looking for ground to sow them into; the hearts and minds of anyone who will listen. Their words plant themselves like seeds in our inmost parts. There, in the darkness, they are cultivated over weeks, months and even years.
I had a “friend” some years ago that was a gossip. My Dad is the pastor of our church and my “friend” had an issue with authority. It didn’t matter who was in charge, they were NEVER good enough for his “righteous” standards. As the sole agent of change in our church, he saw things that needed fixing. Not having the guts to speak to the right people about the changes he wanted to see, he sidled up to me, pretending to be a friend. We would spend time together and I realized that many, many times the discussion would come back to our church, my Dad’s leadership, etc. He was never bold enough to flat out state his feelings, he would just ask questions like, “Don’t you think we should do X instead of what we’re doing?”
I was a young, naive kid in my late teens, just impressed that I had a friend in his 40’s. I didn’t catch on to his manipulative ploy for some time. As the months went on, I began to notice that I was predisposed to NOT believing the best about my Dad’s decisions. I would start an issue believing I (and my friend) was right about an issue and my Dad was wrong. I began to question things. Then one day I was reading this scripture and the Holy Spirit highlighted it to me. The words of my gossiping friend had lodged themselves in my inmost parts! The Lord showed me that in attempting to preserve our relationship I had cultivated this gossip and let it grow. It was perilously close to taking me out. I repented of allowing what I consider good (my Dad, our church) to be spoken of as evil:
“Do not allow what you consider good to be spoken of as evil.” Romans 14:16
Immediately the scales came off my eyes. I saw the reality. My “friend” was little more than a cowardly snake, sidling up to me to exert influence in the church. When I confronted his behavior, his true nature was revealed. He left the church never to come back, completely severing our relationship. Why? Our connection was never about our friendship, it was his attempt to manipulate the course of a congregation!
Cowardly gossips are looking for ground to sow their evil seeds in. Don’t let it be your heart!