I recently preached a sermon at FBC Rosharon in which I listed off guidelines to help determine whether or not what you are doing is gossip. You see I think a great deal of people have a very difficult time seeing when they are guilty of gossip. So, one of the people said, “I’d like to have that list.” I took the list and boiled it down to a few points. So here you go.
If you’re not sure that what you are doing is gossip, consider the following.
- If you cannot support what you are saying or doing with Scripture, don’t do it.
- If you would not say it to EVERYONE or are not comfortable with EVERYONE in the Church hearing YOU say it, then it should not be said. Jesus admonishes you that secrets will one day be revealed completely. Mathew 10:26 He says, “nothing is covered that will not be revealed!” This means that those things you don’t want people to know you are saying, are going to come back to haunt you. Don’t say it.
- If it does not build up the person you are speaking to and/or about, it should not be said. Ephesians 4:29 exhorts, “ Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.” If you are saying things that fail to exalt other people or point them to Jesus, then you are gossiping about them. Don’t say it.
- If what you’re saying stirs up dissension between other people or contributes to unresolved controversy, don’t say it. In Proverbs 16:28, you are called a perverted man if you stir up dissension. Don’t do it.
- Some would argue that they were getting wise council, so here’s a quick test for wise council. If what you are seeking requires you to share names or specifics that indicate who the person in question is, then you are gossiping. Don’t do it.
- If what you are saying does not end in good things or does not accomplish a HOLY purpose, don’t say it. James warns us in James 4:17, “if you see what is good and do not do it, it is sin.” Do the good that you see and not the evil that you speak.