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The Folly of Gossip

Updated on January 13, 2010
Don't Give Your Ear
Don't Give Your Ear

“With his mouth the godless destroys his neighbor” -Prov. 11:9

I just feel this is a necessary hub for me to write. I know someone who still loves gossiping about me, and i am just praying she gets over it. She thinks she's destroying me, but she has to realize, every harsh word she throws my way is some kind of 'boomerang', reflecting more on her character than mine.

I used to get all worked up about gossip, feeling the hurt, getting angry and many times going into depression. I was raised in a very conservative home, (with four brothers to watch my every move), and believe it or not, as straight laced as i was, it shocked me to experience people's capacity to be nasty and concoct malicious lies, right ouf of nowhere. I was in high school when this maligning began to happen to naive little me. Would you believe that I had been 'de-virginized', even before i had a boyfriend and before i even got kissed! But, this is probably true for many of us, and not unique to me. Still, it's hard to fathom that people you know, friends, and sadly "family" can gossip to your destruction.

But, as i got older, i got better at dealing with these dumb busybodies. I learned not to care, nor pay attention for surely, it was a waste of time and a distraction from the things that were far more important in my life. I learned that one way to silence them was to ignore them. It worked with some, but, others were more tenacious and perverted.

Why do people gossip?

People gossip because they are petty. They have no life going for them, and it makes them feel better about themselves.

It makes them feel superior. People with low self esteem think they will feel better if someone were worse off than they are. They make up a rumor that puts people down.

Some gossip to feel they are part of the 'in group'. To be “in on the secret,” is to be in the group.

They lack and need attention. When you have a secret that nobody knows, or are the first person in your group to hear a rumor, it makes you the center of attention.

Certain people always want to be in control or be at the top. When people are at the top of the popularity scale, or are determined to climb higher, one way is by reducing the “status” of another person.

Sheer jealousy or a need for revenge. If you’re jealous of someone’s looks, popularity, or money, you gossip in order to hurt the person.

Boredom. Study shows, this is the #1 reason why people spread rumors? To get rid of life's dullness, they will spread juicy rumors to shake things up, and even get people to fight

The Real Deal About Gossip

Gossip is considered one of the most dangerous sins because it is so subtle and ambiguous. Some are unable to recognize it. Gossip exists when persons “talk about others” in an unfavorable way, and with lies. The root of gossip is negativeness, judgementalism and slander. "A gossip betrays a confidence; so avoid a man who talks too much” (Prov. 20:19). Remember the old saying: “If you can’t say something good about others, don’t say anything at all.”

“Gossip” is derived from the idea of “whispering.” It means “to indulge in idle talk or rumors about others; spreading of sensational stories.” Gossip is a close cousin to slander, and God’s Word places both in the same cupboard as murder and other wickedness -- sins worthy of death.

A busybody is another close relative to gossip -- a person who meddles in the affairs of others. They are persons who have too much time on their hands, with nothing better to do than to talk too much. “ they have the habit of going from house to house, gossipping and saying things they ought not to” (1 Tim. 5:13).

Gossip is more than a little bad habit, it is wicked and sinful, a seething disease of corruption from the mouth. Their mouths are weapons -- aimed at people to fulfill the enemies desire to “steal, kill, and destroy” (John 10:10). Gossip is an enemy to God and everything called holy. Apostle Paul placed a gossip in the same league with murderers and sexual deviates. Jesus also warned that for those who would offend his little ones, it would be better for them to be bound with a millstone and drowned in the sea (Mark 9:42).

If you gossip, repent. If you are a friend to a gossip, correct them with love. If you can't, and they want your 'ears' so they can continue in their wicked ways, stay away from them.

Let the scripture guide you...

I. Backbiting is forbidden by God.

Leviticus 19:17
Ephesians 4:31
1 Timothy 3: 11
James 4: 11

A. Those who spread slander cannot dwell with God, for He is holy.

Psalms 15:1-3

B. God calls them fools.

Proverbs 10:18

II. We are exhorted to "lay aside" all slander, and scripture advises us not even to associate with gossips.

1 Peter 2:1
Proverbs 20:19

A. The tales of a gossip travel fast.

Ecclesiastes 10:20

B. The words of a slanderer spread strife and contention; they
destroy friendships and stir up anger.

Proverbs 6:19; 15:1; 16:28; 17:9; 25:23; 26:20-22

C. The desire to backbite comes from a heart of bitterness and hatred.

Leviticus 19:16-18
Psalms 109:2-3
Luke 6:45
Ephesians 4:31

"Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking,
be put away from you, with all malice ..."
Ephesians 4:31

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    • IslandVoice profile image
      Author

      Sylvia Van Velzer 7 years ago from Hawaii

      Jill: That's the bigger tragedy is when people listen and believe the gossip, which, as you say is a deadly poison. Thanks for the ok and for visiting. Blessings!

      Hello2: You are right, it is a waste of time. Life is short and there's more worthwhile things to discover. Thanks for your input.

    • Hello, hello, profile image

      Hello, hello, 7 years ago from London, UK

      Gossip is destructive and so boring. There so many interesting things to do.

    • jill of alltrades profile image

      jill of alltrades 7 years ago from Philippines

      How true, gossip is so destructive. You said it well, that the gossiper actually reflects or reveals her/his character more than the person being gossiped about. I just wish that people do not listen to such poisonous individuals.

      God bless you for writing this excellent hub!

    • IslandVoice profile image
      Author

      Sylvia Van Velzer 7 years ago from Hawaii

      How sweet of you Greg. I will, thank you.

    • greg austin profile image

      greg austin 7 years ago from Canada

      Excellent hub. Keep your head up and heart strong. Thanks for sharing.

    • IslandVoice profile image
      Author

      Sylvia Van Velzer 7 years ago from Hawaii

      Ken: Destructive is right. In some cultures, a good reputation is so important, and there are incidence of suicides that were caused by mere gossip. Thanks for visiting and blessings to you too.

      Motricio: Yes, words can build or destroy, and we all need Prudence in our life. Thanks for the good thought.

    • motricio profile image

      Mauricio Rodriguez 7 years ago from Bogota DC, Colombia

      Totally agree.

      Tongue is so dangerous as a Double Edge Sword, can harm enemies and yourself. Some times we build beautiful things with our hands and simple destroy them with our words.

      We need to learn, and get a real girlfriend: Prudence.

    • Ken R. Abell profile image

      Ken R. Abell 7 years ago from ON THE ROAD

      Well said. Gossip is so destructive. Thanks for sharing these thought-provoking words here. Blessings & encouragement to you.

    • IslandVoice profile image
      Author

      Sylvia Van Velzer 7 years ago from Hawaii

      yes Dohn, that's the right thing to do, and what my folks used to tell me, that when people gossip about us. it is best to let it one ear and out the other. Life is too precious to let people's negativity waste it. Thanks for your input and visit.

    • dohn121 profile image

      dohn121 7 years ago from Hudson Valley, New York

      Although I don't share in your religion, I do share in your philosophy about gossip. In Buddhism, "Right Speech" is the exact antithesis of gossip. Whenever a coworker or friend/associate delves into gossip about another, I let it go into one ear and out the other. Time is just way too short for negativity. It takes a strong person to deflect such idle words. Thanks, IslandVoice for sharing this.

    • IslandVoice profile image
      Author

      Sylvia Van Velzer 7 years ago from Hawaii

      Thanks Wen, my dear friend.

      Myownworld: I appreciate your ok on this.

    • myownworld profile image

      myownworld 7 years ago from uk

      great hub Island...so well written! I hate gossiping and agree that it only breeds more harm and negativity. Thanks for sharing this!

    • profile image

      Wen Wong 7 years ago

      Very good article.

    • IslandVoice profile image
      Author

      Sylvia Van Velzer 7 years ago from Hawaii

      Sadly true Ethel.

    • ethel smith profile image

      Eileen Kersey 7 years ago from Kingston-Upon-Hull

      Too true