Proverbs 11:9 (ASV) With his mouth the godless man destroyeth his neighbor; But through knowledge shall the righteous be delivered.
I just have to confess this: I have been a witness to murder and murder has been committed against my name…Truth is most of us witness and participate in activities that lead to murder daily when we indulge in gossip and back-biting. Many relationships in my personal and professional life have been destroyed because of gossip that I participated in or I was the subject of. Ministry and career opportunities have also been impacted by the same. So instead of only sharing with you how evil it is and why some people are addicted to participate in it, I will just share some of the ways that I personally have seen gossip destroy relationships in my life.
When I was much younger I was very passive in conversations. I would try to get a moment to express my point of view in a conversation, but would get overlooked, or by the time I had a turn to speak the topic had changed. Frustrated with not being an active participant in conversations, this made me more determined to be heard and my passivity cloaked as politeness was challenged. I became a lot more outspoken, and often shared my opinions whether people were asking for it or not. I felt like I understood how to explain things and did not realize that regular conversation is not the place for that for some people. (Instead I just use my blog to explain things now, ha! ) What I really did not understand is that sometimes an opinion stated, especially about a person who is not present in the conversation, is premium fuel for gossip. I had a coworker that I was cool with at the time ask me what I thought about some of our other co-workers at the time. Please note: This should have been a conversation that I avoided, but of course I started giving my 1st impressions of people that I really did not know very well. This was a BAD move because most of what I said was either carried back to my other co-workers by the person who asked me, or was overheard during the actual conversation by other co-workers. Regardless to say, a lot of strife and confusion began to brew between me and my former co-workers. The sad part is that for the longest time I did not know why many of my former co-workers did not like me. I thought that I was being targeted and just had a spirit of rejection on me (which may have been possible), but in hindsight it probably started with indulging in a conversation that did not need to happen. For some of you reading this, it is obvious not to have candid conversations about other people whether you know them well or not, however in Modern Western culture minding other people’s business is a multi-million dollar industry. It used to just be tabloids books in the supermarkets, and Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous on TV, now gossip and gripe culture is everywhere.
Everyone has an opinion – not everyone needs to share theirs. By the time I learned this truth many of the relationships that were previously thriving had all begun to dissolve. For some of you reading this, it is obvious that we shouldn’t talk about other people in an opinionated way, whether we know them well or not. However, humans like to express what they think or how they feel about other humans, this will probably never change. The harm comes in when an opinion or statement about a person gets communicated by person(s) other than the original speaker and it gets back to the person who is being discussed. So many people think that they can just slander, character assassinate, and gossip about people and no one will ever tie them to those words, and unfortunately the gossiper is usually protected as an “unnamed source” by the time everything “hits the fan”.
Another strong opinion example from my life was when I stated an opinion about a person in my former circle of friends, I was unapproving behind her back but then would try to hang out with her without the other friends because she (and her group of friends) seemed like a change of pace. I was conflicted at the time that I did this, because I really did express truthfully how I felt about her at the time, but at the same time felt like I was not fair and wanted to actually get to know her better, which is why I wanted to hang out with her and her friends. In the end, I believe that my words, my original opinion about her that I said to other people got back to her. It’s so obvious now, but I truly did not understand at the time why she was standoffish towards me and by the time that I realized it, I had to accept that she was not going to be my friend. I could have apologized to her, but at the time I thought that we were just not compatible as friends. I also did not understand why the people that I thought were my friends did not “call me out” on how I was acting more directly. There was actually one person who brought it to my attention and while I probably tried to justify it then, I am actually appreciative that she said something although it did not cause me to immediately change, I did have that experience to reflect on later and it did help me to stop doing that. No one wants to be called fake or two faced, those are fighting words for most people, however if you talk about people behind their back and hide your true feelings that is the conclusion that people will come to about you if you continue in that manner. As I have found out it only takes one loud person and a bunch of people who listen and repeat to destroy a person’s reputation. One would argue that only the person whose reputation is damaged is to blame. While I can follow that reasoning, it should be acknowledged that there are cruel and angry people that delight in “cutting someone down to size”, there are people that love to see a person who is trying to be positive in their life to fall and be disgraced. Also there are people that just mindlessly repeat what they hear without verifying if it is true or holds true today. What type of person are you? I was not necessarily doing a lot of repeating gossip, but as I stated before I did like to share my opinion on what I thought about people which is a sure way to start a gossip chain. I have since repented and if given the opportunity will make restitution with all parties involved.
Accusation in Modern Western culture is not something that should be overlooked although it often is. People only seem to care about accusation when it involves some type of scandal that a highly visible and powerful person like a politician, celebrity, or religious leader is involved in. Just the hint of a scandal can cause the target of the accusation to lose support, fans, business deals, sponsorships, honor/awards, and the list goes on. It is no wonder why accusation is the main weapon behind cancel culture. Since I am writing this based on my own personal experience, and not from the perspective of a politician or celebrity, that is the context that I ask you to keep what I am sharing in. Often the term “accusation” is associated with “false accusation” and while both can be very destructive they are not the same. For example I have been accused of having unpleasant character traits based on events that have actually happened, but were interpreted from a negative perspective. On the other hand, I have been falsely accused of doing, saying, or having motivations for events and situations that never happened and that I would not ever participate in under any circumstances. The tricky part is when an accusation is based on true events only the narrative that the accusation was based on is considered fact. No one cares to find out the whole story. In an investigation, if someone came forth with evidence that seems to match a theory on how a crime happened is the case closed? No, it is the investigators’ job to exhaust all possibilities and examine all evidence before coming to a conclusion. In cancel culture, all someone has to do is accuse and possibly present some type of evidence and the verdict is given (through publicizing the accusation and stirring up a “media buzz”) before there is even a trial. When it comes to false accusation, the accuser does not even need to present real evidence, just add fear or suspicion into the narrative, then try to get the target to admit guilt via entrapment, or get false witnesses to verify the false accusation. This tactic is as old as time, in fact it was used by King Ahab and Queen Jezebel from the Bible so that King Ahab could steal a field from a person who did not want to sell it to him (1 Kings 21:1-16). To me, this is the strategy behind cancel culture. If a person offends you, make them pay a much greater price than the original offense. I do not mean to insinuate that there are not situations where people must face punishment if they have committed a crime, I am just stating that for “regular people” cancel culture is rooted in pettiness. If someone is offended at you or does not like you for whatever reason, that person may feel empowered to “dig up dirt” on you and “expose” it to the world. There are even Christian ministers that support this evil framework. There are scriptures about GOD bringing things to light, but I do not recall ever reading anything that says that we should be the ones to publicly shame or air someone’s “dirty laundry” to the world. I honestly do not see how God would get the glory from any of that. You never see Jesus doing it, and He had plenty of opportunities to do so.
Spying and Monitoring
There are people watching and listening to everything that you do and say, not always to glean from your experience, but in some cases to build a testimony against you. The people doing this are being used by demonic agents, and probably do not realize it, however they seem inexplicably drawn to care about the things that are going on in your life, although you are not doing anything particularly exciting or poignant. When I was growing in my personal relationship with God in my mid-twenties, I had an experience that really helped me to learn about discretion, even though I learned probably the most difficult and painful way. One day, when I was at work, I had this sensation like a spotlight was on me. It was unsettling, like all of these people that I work with, some whom I rarely had any interaction with, were paying close attention to EVERYTHING that I did. I discerned that it had a lot to do with my profession of my faith in the workplace. I asked people that I thought to be further along in the ministry about this, but did not really get an answer to what it meant. It is difficult to this day to say whether this was a sign from God to be careful of what I say and do around the people that I was working with, or if it was coming from an evil spiritual source to highlight my flaws and shortcomings as a Christian. I tend to go with the latter, because if it was from God, I believe that He would have given more clarity and strategies to overcome in that situation. And it caused a level of anxiety in me that I had not experienced before concerning how people viewed me – fear of man. At any rate, if you have a high level of discernment and prophetic gifts, there are many people who are involved in dark arts that will not like this. Christians are not the only ones who address spiritual matters, a lot of people that tap into “New Age” practices can sometimes see or sense “auras” (spiritual energy) around people and when you are growing, it could be possible that they notice the change before you do. I am not saying this to cause you to fear or worry, but to let you know that as a Christian it is important for you to safeguard the Presence of the Lord and anointing that is on your life.
As I mentioned in the section about accusation, there are people that love to search for negative things to present as “evidence” for their accusations against you. Unfortunately for me, and others that have had the same experience, sometimes sins, flaws, shortcomings from the past are the things that are used against you, even after you have already repented and attempted to move on with your life. There is a lie that Satan wants you to believe, especially if you have experienced being rejected, overlooked, isolated, or persecuted after receiving Salvation. This lie is: “My sin only affects me – it doesn’t hurt or impact anyone else.” For me personally, this lie always showed up in regards to sexual sin. After I rededicated my life to Christ in my twenties, I still continued to sin and became very “backslidden” in my walk with God. Yes, I was going to church – even attending Bible study, but in my other “free” time I was engaging in inappropriate relationships in an attempt to find romantic love (something I still haven’t found LOL). As I grew in my relationship with God and desired to serve in ministry I became increasingly convicted about the sin in my life. I fasted, prayed, confessed that I would not sin, and cut relationships off that were not healthy for me and it worked… for a while. Somehow, in a moment of boredom or loneliness I would find myself back in a tempting situation. Sometimes I willingly put myself in situations that I knew might lead to sin, convinced in my own ability to resist the sin and “prove” that I had overcome it. Guess what happened??? Yup, failed and fell many times. Sometimes after months or even years of not engaging in that sin. I eventually learned, and still practice, that it is best to not even go into a situation that may lead you to sin, especially if this is an area where you have struggled. For some people it is not sex, it could be drugs, or violent rage, etc. But the point is, while you are working out your salvation and seeking to be delivered from the sin in your life, people are watching how you do things. I lived by myself at the time and did not know any of my neighbors, but I was still being watched and monitored. If I wasn’t being physically watched, people were tuned in to my conversations, and it did not help that my friends often would tell the “recap” of our nights out at the club or bar, in places where people knew that I was presenting myself as a Christian. I have had my cell phone, computers, and other devices hacked so that the hack could monitor my web activity – looking for dirt. I have been followed while driving and had random people take pictures of me. All of this spying and monitoring for what? To attempt to prove accusations and false accusations made against me. I went to a deliverance minister one time, once I realized that some of this was happening and asked that the spirit of “conspiracy” be broken off of my life. I was told that (paraphrasing) I had not done anything significant enough for there to be a conspiracy against me. Ultimately that prayer for deliverance was not prayed. My point in sharing that is to say that if you are a person who intercedes for your loved ones and strangers, are growing in your relationship with God, and will share the Gospel with others that is significant enough for conspiracies and opposition from hell to come against you. Satan hates a person who worships God in every circumstance, who prays for the freedom and liberation of others, who cares about people who are disadvantaged and suffering. He hates when a believer starts exercising spiritual authority against him and his demonic agents and will try to destroy you.You do not have to be a famous preacher or a high-level person in society for the enemy to target you. So yes, your sin does matter, it can affect people around you, and more importantly in the hands of the workers of iniquity – your sin can be weaponized against you, even when you have repented and no longer engage in it.
The other experience I have had regarding spying involves being “set up” to fall to sin. I was in a situation where I had repented of my sins, was actively getting involved in ministry and thought that my life was on “the right track”. Apparently that made Satan and some people who did not like me mad. I am going to go into detail at a later date as to what exactly happened, however the point is that I was manipulated into a situation where I was put in a compromising situation. The fallout from that situation has led many people to hold this “fail” over my head and use it as a reason to say that I am a bad person or someone who is not a Christian, etc. I still get harassed by people who know of this incident and want to shame me or just be cruel to me. I think that it is interesting that people seem to want some type of confession or admission of sin, not to redeem or restore me, but to shame me further and have me agree not to pursue ministry. Now most people have probably not been through anything like this, but I am sharing because sometimes, we as believers willingly overlook “signs” or “red flags” in certain relationships and environments and sincerely believe that it could never happen to us. Well, I am a living witness, that people can be that evil and cruel towards you when you ignorantly believe that you are immune from harm because you are trying to “live right”. Even when you have overcome an area of sin, you have to intentionally be on guard and not be afraid to shut down scenarios that would lead you into sin. It is true we are carried away by our own lusts (James 1:14) so we have to know what we are prone to be lured by and know that when you are delivered the enemy seeks to come back to to even greater damage than the 1st time that you sinned, if he finds your “house” empty and cleaned (Matthew 12:43-45). This is important because if you fall after testifying that you have overcome, the accuser will say that you are a hypocrite, liar, deceiver, etc. and will attempt to exert legal right to destroy your life. Also, whether this “fall” is known to your friends or family or not, it becomes something that whoever knows about it – probably the person(s) that were sinning with you, want to “expose” to bring you down.
I have been in a situation where I was accused of something by the friends of a mutual friend, and no one ever directly asked me what happened specifically. They just kept manipulating situations to insinuate that their suspicions about me were true. I am actually currently dealing with a situation like that, but instead of it being friends, it’s mainly people that I do not know and they are spying and monitoring to try and prove their suspicions or back up the slander and gossip that they have already spoken. I used to wonder why people don’t just directly confront the person that they have an issue with instead of gossiping or creating so much drama. Many times they are fearful of the truth or claim that they do not trust that the person that they want to confront will tell the truth. All of this enables them to be puppets of satan, stirring up strife and mayhem over petty and insignificant issues.
One of the worst gossip situations to be in is when it involves gossip at church. When gossip is rampant in a church it even starts coming out in the sermons preached and the messages taught. Ministry leaders are human too, and gossip may pass by their ears as they socialize, however a best practice is to “guard our gates” (to guard our sensory gates – eyes, ears, speech, touch, taste, smell). I have no idea why with so much teaching on the prophetic that I almost never hear anyone teaching that Prophets have to especially be careful about the information that they take in because wrong information can pervert the message that God wants to deliver to His people. Hearing gossip and finding a scripture to address is not inherently wrong, but it does add fuel to the gossip fire that probably is already raging at that church. Why not address the gossiper and the target of the gossip privately so that they can work out their issues instead of adding to it. The Holy Spirit reveals many things, some even private or personal to other people, but we can not use the Holy Spirit as an excuse to spread and perpetuate gossip amongst believers. The Bible says that we should gently restore people if they are caught in sin and bear with them their burdens, meaning not publicly shaming them but helping them to repent and get back into a right relationship with God. (Galatians 6:1-2).
What I do not understand the most is why no one challenges the gossiper, but readily accepts their version of the information that they are presenting? Why does gossip and scandal get people so emotionally and socially involved in matters that largely have nothing to do with them? We form our opinions and judgements about people based on some “tea” that some gossiper can’t wait to “spill”. While not realizing that participating in gossip not only damages the target(s) of the gossip, it damages or even kills relationships, and it can be weaponized to oppose the work of God in someone’s life. There are many times that when I realize that gossip is going on about me, that emotionally I am ok, but feel the grief of the Holy Spirit on the inside. That gossip is quenching work and desires of the Holy Spirit, not just damaging the target. Especially when it is shared with people who may be on the verge of making a decision to commit their lives to God, return to church, or give up a sin – the message is: “Why try to be good/ live for God because if you mess up this is what people are going to say about you or do to you.”
As Christians we have to take inventory on our “fleshly appetites” and this has nothing to do with food. It has to do with what we tolerate in our personal space and relationships that can cause us or others around us to sin. For me personally, I can not watch certain types of media, I tried to stretch myself but it always ends up feeling like the wrong thing to do. My limits are probably different from yours, but we can make conscious decisions on what we will include in our appetites. In 2015, I made a decision to change the way that I communicate, and what types of conversations that I will engage in. I now will decline to comment or co-sign when a person brings gossip to me, that I discern as gossip. Does that mean that I never discuss anything about anyone who is not present, of course not – that is not realistic. It does mean that if someone starts sharing information that I do not need to know about someone, or seems personal and has nothing to do with me, I will let them know that I do not need to know anymore and will exit the conversation. If saying something like that is too awkward, I will just remove myself from the conversation. This helps to keep me out of participating in gossip and potentially harming someone unintentionally. It is a good personal strategy but is not going to end gossip, unless everyone does the same.
What is the solution? For many of us, especially those of us that seem to always end up as “hot topics” , patience and long suffering is required. Retaliation is usually ineffective, because it will just add to or generate more confusion and strife. Another strategy is to become secure in the truth. I was wounded and very hurt for years because of gossip regarding my identity and assumptions or lies that were told concerning my lifestyle. It really can have a serious impact for people who cannot handle being shown to the public in a negative light. I wonder how many suicides and actual murders are connected to gossip and accusations being spread or threat of being exposed or portrayed in a shameful manner has taken people out. I wonder how many marriages and friendships have ended because someone told a one sided story about another person. I can’t even imagine how many churches and families that were divided and destroyed because of some “secret” or past failure being brought to light. Many people believe whether it is an actual crime being reported or not that the harshest penalty should be imposed on the target, and only that would constitute justice, I do not agree. We need to get our hearts right if we delight in shaming and tearing down others. If seeing someone disgraced makes us feel superior or self righteous we need some time with Jesus at the Cross. I am all for the Father chastising His children so that they can grow and become more like Him. I am all for criminals paying their debt to society. I am not for pettiness and reckless destruction of people that God has imparted grace to. Jesus did not come to earth to condemn sin, He came to destroy the works of the evil one (1 John 3:8 AMP).
In conclusion, the spirit of gossip is linked with murder – it kills relationships, detroys reputations, and could even lead to physical consequences. If anyone believes that gossiping is not really a sin, they are deceiving themselves and lending their speech to the wiles of the devil. I have repented of my involvement in gossip circles and found a strategy to stay free. It is not easy, sometimes it is interesting or comical to find out something about another person, but there are so many scriptures that clearly speak against this type of behavior, I have linked a few articles I found regarding this below. I have been on both sides of this equation and it is not nice to be entangled in gossip at all. It does not bring glory to God, it can interfere in the things that He wants to do in a person’s life, and it actually makes the gossiper a tool in the hand of Satan.
P.S. – Be on the lookout for “gossip” that may ramp up after reading this and employ the appropriate strategy so that you do not become entangled. God bless.
Thank you for reading, if this has blessed you or you know someone who would like to read this type of content please share.
Scriptures Against Gossip