2043) Gossip

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The Gossips, Norman Rockwell, 1948


I am more deadly than the screaming shell of a howitzer.  I win without killing.  I tear down homes, break hearts, and wreck lives.  I travel on the wings of the wind.  No innocence is strong enough to intimidate me, no purity pure enough to daunt me.  I have no regard for truth, no respect for justice, no mercy for the defenseless.  My victims are as numerous as the sand of the sea, and often as innocent.  I never forget and seldom forgive.  My name is Gossip.     –unknown


What is whispered in the ear of a man is often heard 100 miles away.  –Chinese proverb

Gossip is saying behind their back what you would not say to their face.  Flattery is saying to their face what you would not say behind their back.  –unknown

Anyone who will gossip to you, will gossip about you.  –common knowledge

Not everything you hear is good for talk.  –Japanese proverb

Gossip need not be false to be evil.  There is a lot of truth that shouldn’t be passed around.  –Frank Clark

Words have no wings, but can fly a thousand miles.  –Korean proverb


The Eighth Commandment

You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor.

What does this mean? We should fear and love God so that we do not tell lies about our neighbor, betray him, slander him, or hurt his reputation, but defend him, speak well of him, and explain his actions in the kindest way.

The Small Catechism, Martin Luther, 1525


Exodus 20:16 (the 8th commandment)  —  You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.

Proverbs 10:19 — When words are many, sin is not absent, but he who holds his tongue is wise.

Proverbs 12:18  —  The words of the reckless pierce like swords, but the tongue of the wise brings healing.

Proverbs 16:28  —  A perverse person stirs up conflict, and a gossip separates close friends.

Proverbs 17:9  —  Whoever would foster love covers over an offense, but whoever repeats the matter separates close friends.

Proverbs 26:20  —  Without wood a fire goes out; without a gossip a quarrel dies down.

Ephesians 4:29  —  Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.

James 1:26  —  Those who consider themselves religious and yet do not keep a tight rein on their tongues deceive themselves, and their religion is worthless.

James 3:7-10  —  All kinds of animals, birds, reptiles and sea creatures are being tamed and have been tamed by mankind, but no human being can tame the tongue.  It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison.  With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse human beings, who have been made in God’s likeness.  Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing.  My brothers and sisters, this should not be. 



I confess and ask for your grace, because I have so often in my life sinfully spoke with malice and contempt against other people.  They depend on me for their honor and reputation, just as I depend on them for the same.  Help us all to obey this commandment, giving our neighbor the benefit of the doubt, and explaining their actions in the kindest way.  Amen.

PSALM 141:3:

Set a guard over my mouth, Lord; keep watch over the door of my lips.