Quick, What Is Gossip?
In Matt Mitchell’s book Resisting Gossip: Winning the War of the Wagging Tongue, he says gossip is “bearing bad news behind someone’s back out of bad heart.” It is living out Satan’s schemes to tear down and rip apart. But isn’t it hard to resist saying things about other people that you wouldn’t say to their face?
Let’s meet five types of gossips.
5 Types of Gossips
In Mitchell’s “gallery of gossips,” meet five types of gossiping people. See if you can identify a gossip in your family, church, or workplace. See if you can identify yourself.
#1: The Spy
In Proverbs 11:13, the Hebrew word translated “gossip” means “‘a peddler (of secrets), a huckster/hawker, deceiver, or spy.’ This type of gossip is an informer. She convinces us to tell her our story then share it without permission.
A gossip betrays a confidence,
but a trustworthy person keeps a secret. Prov. 11:13
#2: The Grumbler
Another Hebrew word commonly translated “gossip” refers to a whisperer. Whisperers murmur about another person to others; she shies away from open complaints about the person.
#3: The Backstabber
Backstabbing gossip overflows from a revengeful heart. The backstabber wants to hurt you. The backstabber typically spreads lie after lie. It is a smear campaign.
#4: The Chameleon
A chameleon goes along with gossip to to fit into the crowd. She is motivated by fear and is afraid of what others will think, say, or do if she doesn’t join in. The fear of man keeps her in this prison (Prov. 29:25).
#5: The Busybody
The busybody meddles in other people’s buisess. She gossips for personal entertainment and to live vicariously through the stories of others.
Do you know a gossip? Have have you handled the situation?
Plan to Stop Gossip
Developing godly speech in a world of negative talk is possible! Be encouraged! In The Weight of Your Words: Measuring the Impact of What You Say, Joseph Stowell says you will guard your words when you:
- Develop spiritual maturity.
- Speak only good things about other people.
- Respond properly when you run into folks who misuse their words.
Focusing on the second suggestion, you might commit to say only good things about others. And when problems arise between you and someone else, go directly to the other person and speak to him or her about the problem. This keeps your tongue in check.
“Our goal should be for all our conversations to be filled with good reports about one another,” Stowell writes. “When bad reports creep in from time to time, they should be dealt with as quickly and sensitively as possible.”
The heart of the righteous ponders how to answer, but the mouth of the wicked pours out evil things. Proverbs 15:28
Instead, address the gossiping person and, speaking the love in truth (Ephesians 4:15), show them their sin. But first check your motives. Do you have a rude spirit? Do you think you are better than the gossiper?
Next, don’t communicate approval of negative talk or encourage additional statements. Rather, interject a comment that changes the course of the conversation.
Finally, tactfully share your own commitment to a Spirit-controlled tongue with your family, friends, and church. Ask them to pray for you and to encourage you to speak well of others and to resist gossip.