Gossip…that word you have probably heard taught in the church; if you have been in the church for any length of time or maybe you have been harshly accused of gossiping. I have actually never heard a sermon on gossip, maybe your experience is different, instead I would be accused of gossiping when it seemed convenient to someone. So never understanding what gossip is or isn’t has had me confused so many times I just stopped talking. Being called a gossip, for me, is like being called a liar or a cheater and I don’t like that. Plus I didn’t want to hurt people. What I have found though is the word “GOSSIP” is used by many in the church to silence the TRUTH from being told. This is when, as believers, we begin walking on dangerous ground.
“Truth”…something Pilate himself was looking for. Something, as believers, we are to walk in, search for and be able to discern. Something I see many in the church not looking for; because they are afraid to be called a GOSSIP.
Today the Lord wants to bring clarity as He shared with me this statement:
Gossip is Slander
Simple, yet I believe so many in the church do not have a grasp on what gossip actually means in scripture in the Greek. This in turn lends to bad teaching that has led to people unwilling to search out the truth, ask questions, and live a life from the inside out, unafraid.
As believers, we are to walk in the light as Christ walked in the light (1 John 1:7). This is simply done by faith in Jesus Christ, trusting Him that He was enough of a sacrifice for the whole world. This leads to living from the inside out because we know He did what we could never do for ourselves and He is our righteousness. This trust leads us to lay in a place without fear of condemnation, punishment or separation from our Father in Heaven. We know Him to be Father not judge. From this place we can be honest, truthful and sincere because we have no fear of our Father in Heaven turning away from us. Now, truthfully, have you seen a church like this? Let alone maybe a person like this? They are few and far between because the church teaches performance, fear, and condemnation as the way, the truth and the light rather than Jesus as the Way, the Truth and the Light. See the latter is the Good News that Jesus wants told.
Once I realized the love of God, even after I accept His free gift, is not EVER based upon my performance I am able to live open, honest, and in the light with God and with people. The people part is difficult only because there are so many still afraid to live in the same manner because too many Christians still believe after they accept the free gift there are requirements to stay in “right standing with God”. This is the FURTHEST from the truth.
The belief you must perform
to stay in “right standing with God”
is in direct opposition
to the TRUTH of the Good News
In actuality it is the opposite of the TRUTH of the Good News. AND what is even more interesting, this is similar to the meaning of GOSSIP–the opposite of truth regarding a person. Here let’s take a look:
According to the Complete Jewish Bible (CJB) version the word gossip is used five times in the New Testament. It would be found in the following scriptures (in bold are the meanings of each word in Greek):
- “They are filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and vice; stuffed with jealousy, murder, quarrelling, dishonesty and ill-will; they are gossips,”Romans (Rom) 1:29 CJB. 5588-psithuristés: a whisperer; properly, a whisperer; a sneaky gossip (a “back-stabber”); a backbiter, quietly (secretly) destroying another person’s character – i.e. covertly, not out in the open, but rather operating “in a corner.” See 5587 (psithyrismos).
- “For I am afraid of coming and finding you not the way I want you to be, and also of not being found the way you want me to be. I am afraid of finding quarreling and jealousy, anger and rivalry, slander and gossip, arrogance and disorder.” 2 Corinthians (2 Co) 12:20 CJB. 5587 psithurismos: a whispering; -properly, a whispering to “quietly” spread malicious gossip; “whispering” that launches “secret attacks on a person’s character” (Souter). [5587 (psithyrismós) is “an onomatopoetic word for the sibilant murmur of a snake charmer (Ecc 10:11)” (WP at 2 Cor 12:20).]
- “Similarly, the wives must be of good character, not gossips, but temperate, faithful in everything.” 1 Timothy (1 Ti) 3:11 CJB. 1228 diabolos: slanderous, accusing falsely; (from 1225 /diabállō, “to slander, accuse, defame”) – properly, a slanderer; a false accuser; unjustly criticizing to hurt (malign) and condemn to sever a relationship. [1228 (diábolos) is the root of the English word, “Devil” (see also Webster’s Dictionary); in secular Greek means “backbiter,” i.e. an accuser, calumniator (slanderer). 1228 (diábolos) is literally someone who “casts through,” i.e. making charges that bring down (destroy). Satan is used by God in this plan – as a predictable wind-up toy, playing out his evil nature.]
- “Besides that, they learn to be idle, going around from house to house; and not only idle, but gossips and busybodies, saying things they shouldn’t.” 1 Timothy (1 Ti) 5:13 CJB. 5397 phluaros: babbling; prating, talking foolishly, babbling; (an adjective, derived from phlyō, “to boil, bubble over”) – properly, what bubbles over (like a seething, boiling pot). 5397 (phlýaros) is only used in 1 Tim 5:13.
- “So if I come, I will bring up everything he is doing, including his spiteful and groundless gossip about us. And as if that weren’t enough for him, he refuses to recognize the brothers’ authority either; moreover, he stops those who want to do so and tries to drive them out of the congregation!” 3 Yochanan (3 Jo) 1:10 CJB. 5396 phluareó: to talk nonsense; : I gossip against, talk idly, make empty charges against, talk nonsense.; (from 5397 /phlýaros, “to bubble up, boil over”) – overflowing with speech “that is fluent but empty” (WS, 562). It is used only in 3 Jn 10. See 5397 (phlyaros).
From these definitions I looked up a couple of words: calumniate and Prating. I am a stickler when defining a word not to use the word in the definition because it doesn’t illuminate the word at all. So here is the definition to both words from dictionary.com:
CULUMNY: noun, plural calumnies.
1.a false and malicious statement designed to injure the reputation of someone or something:
The speech was considered a calumny of the administration.
2.the act of uttering calumnies; slander; defamation.
1. to talk long and idly.
As you read through the definitions a few things becomes clear. First, there is a huge difference between how we define gossip today and the five Greek words used within the scriptures above. It is quite clear from above the Bible is defining someone who knowingly, maliciously and on purpose decides to malign, lie, and make empty charges against someone both openly and quietly; their whispering launches secret attacks to destroy another person’s character; they choose to hurt, and destroy and to condemn a person’s character; and they desire to sever a relationship by doing all of this. As you can see from above, this is a tactic of the enemy; hence the Greek word “diablos”. The Greek word above translated as “Gossip” is someone who is a false accuser or an empty accuser (full of air just bubbling over) that does not want to bring unity but disunity, not life but death and not healing but destruction. Let’s look at the original meaning of the word “gossip” in English from Merriam-Webster dictionary:
History for GOSSIP:
At first the word gossip, from Old English godsibb, meant “godparent.” Later it came to mean “close friend” as well. Close friends, of course, share secrets. Gossip has come to mean anyone, friend or not, who shares the secrets of others.
The word GOSSIP is NOT
found once in the KJV
So, interestingly enough, if you look up the word “GOSSIP” in the King James Version (Old English) you will not find one scripture with the word “gossip”. There are zero results. We need to understand the meaning of the original Greek words translated as “gossip” if we are to judge the universe (1 Corinthians 6:2) and understand what was truly being talked about in the five scriptures referenced above. In the first letter to the believers in Corinth Paul is referencing a problem that came up between two believers and one took the other to court and he is asking,
“Don’t you know that God’s people are going to judge the universe? If you are going to judge the universe, are you incompetent to judge these minor matters?”….Can it be that there isn’t one person among you wise enough to be able to settle a dispute between brothers?”(1 Corinthians 6:2-5).
One of the many things we need to understand, as believers, is that we have the Holy Spirit within us and we should be able to discern the truth from a lie. But we must hear both sides of the story to be able to do so and then wait upon Holy Spirit to help us. Is one side gossip??? The real meaning of gossip??? Is it a fabrication to bring down an individual, and why would this individual need to be brought down? Is there something the enemy is trying to hide? Paul and the apostles ran into this time and again as they brought the Good News and the enemy did not want the Good News to be believed. So people would rise up and gossip (the real meaning) about the apostles in hopes the apostles would not be listened to.
As believers, we also must understand we need to be open, honest and truthful with what we experience. We should be able to talk about circumstances that are unhealthy and tell our side of the story without the fear of being called a “gossip”. For far too long the church has covered up great harms done to others by calling the truth GOSSIP and that is an unhealthy trait. For it covers actions in darkness instead of bringing things to light to be dealt with in a loving, healthy way (Matthew 18). I believe this truly happens because we are too busy trying to perform holiness, as we think we should, instead of simply knowing we are holy because of what Christ did for us on the Cross.
No longer be afraid to speak the truth when asked, search out the truth when something doesn’t sit right with you and judge the matters before you. For one day we shall judge the universe.