It’s a horrible fact: Everyone has been hurt by gossip or slander. No one is immune from the searing pain brought about by false or damaging information. I know I’ve been on the receiving end of such pain and damage. And I’m ashamed to say I’ve been the deliverer of it too. You’ve probably experienced both ends of gossip as well.
Satan and She-Devils
The word slanderer is used many times in the Bible. And it has a frightening meaning! Slanderer comes from the worddiabolos, meaning a malicious gossip, slanderer, or false accuser. This word is used 34 times (yes, 34!) in the New Testament as a title for Satan. It is also used to describe Judas, the disciple who betrayed Jesus and was called a “devil” in John 6:70.
And, besides these references, the word is used in Titus 2:3 and in 1 Timothy 3:11 in reference to women, literally meaning “she-devils” and “malicious talkers.”
Gossips are not in very good company, are they? They are lumped together with Satan, Judas, and slanderous “she-devil” women—not a pretty or pleasant thought, is it? Even the most hardened offender (gulp!) might be ashamed of her gossiping if she realized she was a she-devil involved in slandering and killing others.
Stay Out of the Fray
So what are we supposed to do when we’re around gossip? It’s good to be prepared, and these options will help.
- Choose your activities carefully—Be careful about talking on the phone, hanging out, or staying too long after your luncheon appointment with your friends is over.
- Choose words of praise—Be known as a woman who is a friend of women. I call this being a woman who is forother women rather than being against them. God wants you to share words that are full of grace (Colossians 4:6), wise and kind (Proverbs 16:23-24; 31:26), pleasant, sweet, constructive, and instructive. May your speech edify and minister grace to your hearers (Ephesians 4:29).
- Choose to pray—Rather than talk about someone who has issues, pray for them. And while you’re at it, pray for yourself and your speech. Also pray for those who harm you. This way, you’re telling the right person—God, not everyone else—about your problems. His job is to deal with those who wrong you (Romans 12:19). Your job is to pray and to forgive.
- Choose to deal with gossip as sin—This is where I had my greatest breakthrough. Acknowledge to God that you have a problem with gossip. Confess it as sin. Tell Him all about it (1 John 1:8-9). And ask for His help.
Dear Lord, please help me make it my goal that, in every encounter, others are better off for having been in my presence. Amen.
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Do I enjoy gossip more than I enjoy honoring the Lord and others?
What is my plan to avoid gossip?
God wants you to share words that are full of grace (Colossians 4:6), wise and kind (Proverbs 16:23-24; 31:26), pleasant, sweet, constructive, and instructive.