I believe that gossip can be rooted in fear and various forms of selfishness, including unforgiveness, anger, arrogance, jealousy and feelings of inadequacy.  James 3:16 says that where there’s envy and selfish ambition, there’s every evil practice. 1 Peter 2:1 tells us to rid ourselves of all malice, envy and slander. Galatians 5:19 says that jealousy is an act of sinful nature, and people “who live like this will not inherit the Kingdom of God.” Romans 1:29-30 has a few things to say about gossiping too, describing it as a form of wickedness. Proverbs 6:12-15 tells us that disaster will overtake those with a corrupt mouth. Psalms 34:13 tells us to keep our tongues from evil. Leviticus 19:16 says, “Do not spread slanderous gossip among your people.” Let us also remember that slander and defamation are illegal. 

Yes, there is power in the tongue.   

Interesting how the enemy can use even Christians to do his dirty deeds when we are willing. The Bible says that we cannot serve two masters. We choose each day—intentionally or unintentionally—who we will serve.  2 Timothy 2:16 says, “Avoid godless chatter, because those who indulge in it will become more and more ungodly.” 

Whether it’s at the kitchen refrigerator water dispenser or the workplace water cooler, we would do well to remember the woman at the well. Even though Jesus’ own Jewish culture did not usually associate with Samaritans, He went out of His way to reach out to the Samaritan woman, offering her Living Water (John 4). He didn’t condemn her, even though her past and current choices of circumstance were less than sterling. He met her with a heart of compassion and salvation. Are we not to model His love for others in this way?   

I love Romans 2:1, which essentially asks us, “Why to you judge others when you yourself commit the same sins?” 

God forgets our sins once they’re forgiven. Are we not to keep our eyes on the Lord, not look to our past? Are we not all sinners saved by grace?

Through God’s grace, I have forgiven this woman and prayed for the dismantling of the malicious spirit that hides behind a pretty mask. But no doubt, the temptation to gossip will come again, perhaps next time in a more subtle way. Next time you’re confronted with a “little” gossip – at work, at church, or among your friends - what will you do?

This article was originally published on Crosswalk Women in March 2008.

Margaret D. Mitchell is the Founder of God’s Love at Work for Women, a Christian ministry purposed to cultivate the hearts of women in the marketplace through sharing God’s powerful love.  To learn more about the 2008 God’s Love at Work Women’s Expo, free devotionals, teleseminars or Margaret’s latest book: 100 Passengers, please visit http://www.godsloveatwork.com/