How Can I Stop Gossiping? Answers From the Bible

by Jack Wellman · Print Print · Email Email

It’s so easy for us to gossip and listen to gossip, but since we know it’s very destructive, how can we stop the gossip?

What is Gossip?

It’s so easy for us to gossip and listen to gossip, but since we know it’s very destructive, how can we stop the gossip? Gossip has been defined as casual or unconstrained conversation or reports about other people, typically involving details that are not confirmed as being true. Three very good questions to ask about gossip or what you hear are these: Is it helpful, is it true, and is it necessary. If it’s not all three, then let it be! Gossip was well defined by Solomon who wrote, “A dishonest man spreads strife, and a whisperer separates close friends” (Prov 16:28). More relationships have been destroyed by gossip than we can even count. Families, friends, churches, workplaces, and other places have suffered on account of gossip. It can cause divorces, get people fired, and sometimes, even lead to violence. Some sue one another for slander or something like that. The byproducts of gossip are ugly.  Maybe you’ve been hurt by gossip, but maybe others have been hurt by our own gossip. Prayer requests and prayer chains can so easily turn into gossip columns.

“a whisperer separates close friends” (Prov 16:28)

Slander and a False Witness

God is angry when we gossip or even when we listen to other people’s gossip because if we’re allowing them to gossip to us, we’re participating in their sin by listening! God hates such things, in fact Solomon wrote, “There are six things that the Lord hates, seven that are an abomination to him: haughty eyes, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked plans, feet that make haste to run to evil, a false witness who breathes out lies, and one who sows discord among brothers” (Prov 6:16-19). Gossip can cause discord among brothers, so a lying tongue (which gossip can easily fall into) is something God hates. Truly, “Whoever goes about slandering reveals secrets, but he who is trustworthy in spirit keeps a thing covered” (Prov 11:13), so God sees gossip as equal to slander. And today, you can get sued for that!

Stopping Gossip

When God Is Silent

The next time someone comes up to you and starts gossiping about someone, do this. First, if they say “Jane” or “Joe” has done such and such a thing, stop them right there! Tell them that the both of you will try to contact them (person being gossiped about) and set up a time to talk to them about this and “See if we can help them.” If we are fortunate enough to have the person in the church, I’d look right over at them and say, “Hey, there is Joe or Jane over there. Let’s go over and talk to them right now about what you just told me.” Tell them, “This sounds very serious” or something to that effect and actually try to take them with you to the person they gossiped about. More often than not, that will stop them from ever coming to you again and spreading gossip. It also shames them a bit into (hopefully) seeing the sin in gossiping about someone else.

Talking negatively about anyone who is not there is not fair to the person being gossiped about because they are not there to defend themselves. Gossip typically degrades a persons’ character or worth, so stop, don’t listen, walk away if necessary, tell them you will go to that person they’ve gossiped about and tell them what they said. Hopefully, that should end it. Don’t even listen to it because that provides an audience for it to continue, because it is “For lack of wood the fire goes out, and where there is no whisperer, quarreling ceases” (Prov 26:20).

Avoid the Gossiper

Even if it’s too late and you’ve heard the gossip, keep it to yourself, for “Whoever keeps his mouth and his tongue keeps himself out of trouble” (Prov 21:23). If we’re not able to bridle our tongue and don’t walk away from the gossiper, then that person’s religion is worthless. James wrote, “If anyone thinks he is religious and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his heart, this person’s religion is worthless” (James 1:26). It may be necessary to separate yourself from the gossiper, which is why God’s wise counsel is, “Whoever goes about slandering reveals secrets; therefore do not associate with a simple babbler” (Prov 20:19)Bible Verses About Hell.

Extinguishing the Fire

If no one would ever listen to a gossiper, then the gossip would stop right there. It takes kindling to keep the fire going, but once there’s only one log in the fire, it will eventually go out. We are commanded to “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” (Eph 4:29), and gossip is positively corrupt talk, if ever there was.


It’s important that we remember “on the day of judgment people will give account for every careless word they speak” (Matt 12:36), and every idle word of gossip, even more so! That sobering reminder should help us to stop our ears to the gossip, check our tongue, walk away from the gossiper and stop the chain of destruction as people pass on one bit of gossip to another. If you knew someone was gossiping about you, wouldn’t that make you mad? It would me. Before we end, let me ask you; Haveyou trusted in Christ? I pray you have already trusted in Jesus Christ, for He says to you and He says to all, “unless you repent, you will all likewise perish” (Luke 13:5). Repent today and trust in Christ or face God’s judgment after death (Heb 9:27) or at Christ’s appearance (Rev 20:12-15), whichever comes first.

Here is some related reading for you: How to Stop the Gossip in Your Church

Resource – Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® (ESV®), Crossway Bibles. (2007). ESV: Study Bible: English standard version. Wheaton, Ill: Crossway Bibles. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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