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Christian Life

“How Do I Avoid Gossip?”

Every week, I go through the “Girl Talk” section of Project Inspired and look for those seeking advice and counsel. I want to help answer some questions you may have about living out your Christian life and walk of faith! We want PI to be a safe place where you can ask questions.

This week, a PI Girl mentioned she has a great group of Christian friends, but some people she hangs out with tend to gossip. She knows gossip is a sin, and wants to address the problem in a gentle, loving way. To read the full post in the Girl Talk Forum, click here.

One thing I want to point out is that it’s great this young woman recognized gossip in her circle of friends, and it also shows her character and relationship with God that she acknowledges it to be a sin.

Gossip is often a difficult sin to identify. The reason people don’t consider it to be as big of a sin is because it’s merely talking. But words are VERY powerful and can be very harmful if used in the wrong way.

So also the tongue is a small part of the body, and yet it boasts of great things. Behold, how great a forest is set aflame by such a small fire! And the tongue is a fire, the very world of iniquity…” —James 3:5-6

God’s Word talks about gossip, which the Oxford Dictionary defines as “casual or unconstrained conversation or reports about other people, typically involving details that are not confirmed as being true.” The Bible talks about the power of the tongue and of words, and also discusses the destruction of gossip.

In Proverbs 11:13, it says: “He who goes about as a talebearer reveals secrets, but he who is trustworthy conceals a matter.”

Observe the people you hang out with and listen to what they speak about. A person’s character is usually made known by what the heart speaks. (Luke 6:45) It’s good to be around people who are positive, uplifting, loving and speak kind words about others. It’s likely that if you’re around someone who gossips, they probably gossip about you, too, so beware.

A perverse person stirs up conflict, and a gossip separates close friends.” —Proverbs 16:21

PI Girls, don’t partake in gossip. If something comes up that’s not nice or positive about someone, walk away—or if you’re bold enough to say something, tell your friend in a loving way that you don’t gossip. Another option is to change the subject. Prayer is also a key factor in this. In life, it’s inevitable we’ll cross paths with a gossiper, but let’s try and uphold a godly standard of what we know is right. No one is perfect, but being aware of the harmful consequences is a way to remember to not be around and/or give in to the temptation of gossip.

Tips to Avoid Gossip and/or Address Gossip:

1. Pray. Talk to God about the friend(s) who are talking behind other people’s backs. Ask Jesus to intervene and to give you boldness when you speak up about not wanting to be part of the gossip.

2. Walk away. If the girls you are around ignore your feelings and your beliefs after you’ve expressed them, that may be an indication they’re not like-minded friends who support you. If they notice you walking away, maybe they will address and change their behavior.

3. Change the subject. If you’re in a group of people who are gossiping and you don’t want to walk away or are too afraid to say something about it, then change the topic and pray. God will fight for you.

4. Acknowledge gossip. Don’t keep ignoring this sin. Acknowledge it, repent and, if necessary, change the people you hang out with. Gossip eventually leads to people’s feelings getting hurt, false information or distorted stories. Gossip isn’t healthy and is not of the Lord. Try your best to show others the love of Jesus, and treat people (Luke 6:31) and talk about people the way YOU would want to be spoken about.

I love you, PI Girls! Comment below and write a prayer request or another verse about how your words have power.

Image: iStockphoto | ThinkStock + Project Inspired

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8 Comments

  1. Project Inspired

    Posted by lovejoypeacebell@hotmail.com on April 24, 2014 at 20:07

    Thanks for this article. Gossip is sadly enough very popular. Thanks thanks thanks for the posting!! I think it will help other people to think twice before gossiping, thank you!!

  2. Project Inspired

    Posted by May Song on April 15, 2014 at 20:43

    Gossip is definitely a bad thing going on in our generation. These days, whenever I’m talking with my friends, I find that the only thing there is to talk about is to gossip about others. However, this article helped me with that problem, so thanks for posting!

  3. James122

    Posted by James122 on April 8, 2014 at 19:40

    This is really important, I think. Lately, I’ve let myself slide when I’m with my best friends. We gossip about other people, and I justify it, saying that I’m only talking with my friends, not spreading around rumors or anything. But really, gossip is gossip, and I should really try to curb the things I say about others.
    Here’s a verse that wasn’t mentioned that I think is really important for anyone reading this comment to know also 🙂
    “Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers.”
    That’s from Ephesians, chapter 4, verse 29. By the way, edifying is basically “to build up”.

  4. gabby99

    Posted by gabby99 on April 7, 2014 at 16:01

    I need some prayer.. my mom and I have a problem with talking bad about people, I have tried to stop but found out it is too hard so I have just stopped trying in the past, but I don’t want to do that anymore, I want to look this sin right in the face and say “god is bigger than you and he will fight for me to stop this” I think this was a god thing because I was just scrolling down my Facebook page and saw this and before I knew it here I was reading it and hearing god whispering to me “I know you can stop this” I just really need some prayer. my mom and I have a great relationship and its not built on gossip, in fact we don’t gossip, but we do say some things that I know I wouldn’t want someone saying about me. my mom and I normally say “I’m just venting” or “I’m not trying to talk bad about these people but its just so irritating” I don’t want to do that anymore. but I do need to know what the difference is about venting and talking bad about people. please help. -Gabriella

  5. Project Inspired

    Posted by wangjaja_33 on April 7, 2014 at 12:03

    My friends recently were talking about who’s in a relationship with who in our grade. Even if the comments weren’t mean or destructive, is this still a topic that’s considered gossip?

    Thanks!

    • Mandi Pi

      Posted by Mandi Pi on April 7, 2014 at 13:35

      @wangjaja_33, I think I would (personally) consider that gossip, because it’s something that can very easily get twisted around. You never know how accurate this info can be, and if there is every ANY iffy-ness in how accurate it is, it’s far safer to just go ahead and categorize it as gossip. Having experience of what girls do (and being one myself lol 😉 ), I know how easy it is for a subject to go from harmless-and-totally-true to hardly-true-at-all-and-hurtful-and-friendships-being-ruined. :/

      Hope this helped at all! Let me know if you want thoughts on anything else. (: <3

  6. CourtHelton

    Posted by CourtHelton on April 7, 2014 at 11:18

    I love this article!! I think the hardest part about combating gossip is identifying it. You can casually be talking to your friends or a group of people, and the next thing you know, you’re talking about someone! One question that sticks with me: If you’re talking about someone and getting information from other people in attempt to help someone, is it gossip? I understand that their is probably a fine line!

    • Mandi Pi

      Posted by Mandi Pi on April 7, 2014 at 13:31

      @Courtney, hmm…Personally, I would say it’s okay as long as you are ONLY talking to trustworthy and is in a tight-knit group with you and the person you’re talking about. If your intentions are good, I don’t THINK it’s really gossip, but it’s very easy to tell it to the wrong person, for you or someone to twist this girl’s words/actions, to START a rumor or more gossip, etc. Just be sure you are completely sure that what you are saying/the info you are getting from people is 100% true, that you don’t put anyone down in the process, and that the conversation doesn’t get pulled into becoming gossip. (:

      Hope this helped at all! Let me know if you want thoughts on anything else. (: <3