The Distaff
A Talebearer Revealeth Secrets

Jeanette Hogg

The World Book Encyclopedia Dictionary defines gossip as 1. idle talk, not always true, about other people and their affairs; 2. light familiar talk or writing; 3. a person who gossips a great deal. As a verb: to repeat what one knows, or the idle talk that one hears, about other people and their affairs.

How does God feel about gossip?

God has always forbidden gossip.

Leviticus 19:16, "Thou shall not go up and down as a talebearer among thy people."

Psalm 50:20, "Thou sittest and speakest against thy brother; thou slandereth thine own mother's son."

Proverbs 11:13, "A talebearer reveals secrets; but he that is of a faithful spirit concealeth the matter."

Proverbs 20:19, "He that goeth about as a talebearer revealeth secrets; therefore meddle not with him that flattereth with his lips."

Ezekiel 22:9, "In thee are men that carry tales to shed blood."

How are we guilty of gossip?

When we pass on some information about an individual we must be certain we have the right motive. Are we going to try to help that individual to overcome something, or are we merely informing a third party? If we can help the individual we should go directly to him or her about the matter and offer our help or advice. If we don't think we can help we should keep the matter to ourselves, provided the individual is not doing something contrary to the doctrine of Christ. In that case, the Scriptures set out the means of handling such a situation. Whether something is true or false is immaterial. Only the person involved can explain or clear up the situation - often there may be a logical explanation, and we may be saved embarrassment by going directly to the individual involved. Perhaps there has been a total misunderstanding. Often we are so prone to jump to conclusions that may not be totally true. We should be very careful when we pass on information about someone.

We sometimes play a game at parties called "Gossip." It is not only true at parties, but in real life that facts are often misunderstood and repeated to someone totally different from the first time told. We should be very careful when passing information on to another person, especially if we don't have firsthand knowledge of the facts.

We women are especially warned against gossip

1 Timothy 5:13, "And withal they learn to be idle, wandering from house to house; and not only idle, but tattlers also and busybodies, speaking things that they ought not."

Gossip will separate us from our friends.

Proverbs 16:28, "A froward man soweth strife; and a whisperer separateth chief friends."

Often if we don¹t spread a bad rumor the entire matter will fade away and cease to exist.

Proverbs 26:20, "Where no wood is, the fire goeth out: so where there is no talebearer, the strife ceaseth."

Proverbs 26:21, "As coals are to burning coals and wood to fire; so is a contentious man to kindle strife."

Staying busy will help one to refrain from gossip. Go visit someone who is spiritually sick, rather than tell someone they are sick. Try to help. If you're not confident take someone with you. At least, you may find out what the person's real problem is. One good deterrent to gossip: The next time someone begins to tell you something about someone else, or if you are asked not to repeat something, suggest to the person telling you that you both go and visit that person and find out about the matter.

We should train our conscience to be sensitive enough that it will warn us when we start to pass on some information that will not help someone or enable us to improve someone's state of mind. If it won't do some good, we should never repeat something we know or have heard, even though it may be true. We have all heard the expression, "the truth hurts." Maybe it does in some instances, but the Bible teaches us in John 8:32 that "ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." If we do hear something from someone we should check it out and see if it is really as that person told us. If we can do something about it, we should do it

The best safeguard against being a gossip or talebearer is to "Keep thyself pure." (l Timothy 5:22)

Proverbs 15:26, "The words of the pure are pleasant words."

Matthew 5:8, "Blessed are the pure in heart; for they shall see God."

What a great incentive to keep ourselves pure. Our attitude toward others should always be pure - not accusing or critical.

l Peter 1:22, "Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the spirit and the unfeigned love of the brethren, see that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently."

If we fill our minds with good and pure thoughts there will be no room for gossip, backbiting or talebearing.

Philippians 4:8, "Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report, if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things."

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