Are you a gossip (and don’t know it)?


Over my years of ministry, sometimes it seems like there are two types of people. There are those who recognize gossip in themselves and work to grow and there are those who don’t realize they are a gossip and continue in their destructive ways.

Gossip is a killer. We may try to write off our own gossip by saying we are just blowing off steam, claim we should be able to say what we want to others that are close friends, or claim that it doesn’t happen often.

The problem is that usually the victims of the gossip usually find out and are hurt at the betrayal. The blowing off steam becomes starting fires. Talking to close friends becomes having less friends (at least friends of value) as they pull away from you. “It doesn’t happen often” becomes a quick defense but not an honest one as we slip more into negativity and feed the beast of gossip over and over again.

So, the question is, are you a gossip? Well, let’s look at the definition….

Gossip: casual or unconstrained conversation or reports about other people, typically involving details that are not confirmed as being true.

Does that ring true at all for you personally? Do you forget that you don’t always know the whole story? Does it slip your mind that you are talking about real people with real feelings? Do you lack self control and feed your need to be in the know instead of being a person of integrity?

I think we have an image in our head of what gossip looks like and we usually make it look worse than what we do so we don’t feel convicted. However, gossip is gossip. Gossip is damaging. Gossip is a killer.

Gossip usually gets back to the person you are talking about even if they don’t say anything to you about it. It shows the people you are gossiping with your lack of character. Gossip darkens your witness and contradicts grace, truth, and love. It’s an evil foe.

As a pastor, I hear about the effects of gossip in three main ways. One is when I sit with someone who has been damaged by gossip by people they thought loved them. Another is when I sit with someone who has been convicted of their gossip and need grace and forgiveness. Finally, when I feel the emotions myself knowing that people I love sometimes are tearing me down when I am not in the room. Gossip is ugly.

If you find there is an area in your life where you are gossiping, let me suggest some ideas to move forward away from that pit.

– Ask for forgiveness

Take it to God and confess your sin for He is faithful and true in His grace.

Go to the person you offended and talk with them. It may be a tough conversation but some of my deepest relationships have moments where I or they confess gossip and give each other grace. (Not everyone will give grace. Sadly, that’s up to them and is a ripple effect of your choice to gossip but it’s also not in your control what they choose.)

Go to the people you gossip with and ask forgiveness. Your humility and integrity might just be the best thing to defend the subject (s) of the group’s gossip. If one who was in the mix of the loose talk shares that they were convicted, it could lead others to higher ground and repentance.

– Learn how to go talk to people instead of about them

That one is simple enough. You can not gossip to a person about them. You can only have a conversation that might grow your understanding and relationship.

– Realize it’s not all about you

Most gossip comes out of a place of ego that things are not going the way you think they should, you are not getting what you want, or that you think you know more about a situation then you really do. This is something we really have to watch in ministries and places of business. “If only I was in charge” thoughts leads to places where Satan can bring great damage. Gossip along these lines can lead you from having the opportunities and promotion you desire because of it’s backlash.

– Rest

Many times we can fall into gossip because we are burned out and over whelmed. There’s something about frustration that is a gate for sin including gossip. Make sure you are being filled up by the Spirit and not just being drained by others.

– Get new friends

Sometimes, the people around us are simply toxic in their gossip and attitude. Try to address it and if that venom gets pointed at you, take a step back and find others who are seeking higher ground in their lives too.

While I could type on this topic all day but I will try to sum up in respect for your time.

I have gossiped in my life and have seen the pain it causes. I have testimonies of others forgiving me of my sin after years of pain I didn’t even know where there. The moment of release you get by gossiping is simply not worth it.

I have been the victim of gossip before and it’s painful. A matter of fact, as a pastor, I am aware that there are times that some of those I love are quick to speak negative about me. Gossip simply is not as hidden as gossipers think. In some cases, I don’t say much and love them while praying for their hearts to change. In others, I address it head on because of the damage they are doing to themselves and others. In both cases, it’s hurtful and I pray for God to grow His grace and love in me.

So, it comes down to this… God wants freeing, mature, and loving relationships in your life. He desires this for your benefit, the benefit of other, and for His name sake. Do what ever it takes to kill gossip and let God have control of that area in your life. You deserve more and so do those around you.

Prayers and Blessings!

Pastor Tom Hypes

Ephesians 4:29
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.

Proverbs 16:28
A dishonest man spreads strife, and a whisperer separates close friends.

Proverbs 21:23
Whoever keeps his mouth and his tongue keeps himself out of trouble.

Proverbs 20:19
Whoever goes about slandering reveals secrets; therefore do not associate with a simple babbler.

Proverbs 26:20
For lack of wood the fire goes out, and where there is no whisperer, quarreling ceases.

Philippians 4:8
Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.

About Tom Hypes

Tom Hypes is an ordained Pastor who has served in churches and the camping ministry for over 25 years. He currently leads at The Shepherd's Fellowship and volunteers at Leapin' Outreach (clothing ministry), Marion County Citizen Circle (helping clients with transitions from prison to community), Kirkpatrick Food Pantry, and ministers in the local nursing homes. He has also contributed to Group Magazine, CBA Marketplace, and Youth Worker Magazine. He serves in his ministry in the partnership with his family; wife Jenni, son Ryan, and daughter Emily.