Monday, July 3, 2023

How Do We Stop Gossip?

By Brian Mitchell
    Where there is no wood the fire ceases. Fire needs 3 things to exist: Fuel, Oxygen and Heat. Without anyone of these elements there is no fire. Likewise gossip needs three things to exist, thrive, and do damage. It needs a victim, a tale bearer, and an audience. Again, without all of these constituent elements gossip will not take form and no damage can be done.
    The first step to stopping gossip is the realization that none of us personally wants to be the subject of gossip, tale bearing, or slander. Once we admit that, then we move to the next step, which is the personal application of the Golden Rule. “Do unto others as you would have them do to you” Mt7:12. If you don’t want to be gossiped about or slandered, then don’t do it to others.
    What do we do when we are tempted to gossip, be a tale bearer, or slander someone? Remember that no one benefits from gossip and slander. “A good name in a man or woman is the immediate jewel of the soul. He who steals my purse steals trash, but he who steals my good name robs me of that which enriches him not and makes me poor indeed” Shakespeare. In other words, no one benefits from gossip and slander. Slandering someone else’s good name not only does you no good, it many times does irreparable harm to those who are the victims of your slander.
    Remember that gossip can and often does destroy your own trustworthiness and reputation—Prov.26:24-26. The more you gossip about others the less trustworthy you become. “He who gossips with you will gossip about you.” One of the gossiper’s main goals is to inflate their own reputation by tearing down the reputation of others, but in the end, it is really your reputation that suffers. Gossip is not befitting a child of God and must be done away with—Col.3:8-10.
    Remember that once gossip and slander is out you can’t get it back. There was a story of the young man who slandered the name of an older preacher that he did not like very much. Upon realizing the error of his actions, he went to the old preacher and repented, he then asked how he could make things right. So the old preacher took the young man outside on a breezy day and tore open a feather pillow, and then as the wind scattered the feathers in every direction he told the young man to go out and retrieve each of those feathers. The point is obvious: “We are many times no more able to repair the damage that gossip does, than the young man would be able to gather all of those feathers back.”
   Realize that your heart is the heart of the matter. “Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks” Mt.12:34. Jesus teaches us that we speak about those things which are present in our minds, so if we are always dwelling upon negative things, those things are going to be manifested in our communications with others. So if gossip and slander come from the heart, and are themselves a direct result of that which I am focused on, then I need to change the things I focus on. If I am continually focused on the negative aspects of people and situations, then those are the kind of things I am going to share with others.
    So we need to change our focus and look for the positive. Instead of dwelling on the fact that someone has done you wrong, and you must therefore get even by talking negatively to others about them, remember God who says “vengeance is mine I will repay.” So speak what is good for necessary edification” Eph.4:29.

- Brian Mitchell serves as a minister with the Jackson Church of Christ in Jackson, MO. He may be contacted through the congregation's website at

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