What does the Bible say about gossip?
It is truly sickening to know that some of the more well-known Messianic/Hebrew Roots leaders are engaging in lashon hara, "gossip" - setting out to do intentional harm to others! Look around - you see it everywhere, especially in social networking places such as Facebook.
Gossip-riddled mass emails, Facebook and blog posts, and YouTube videos abound all over the internet, spawned by well-known teachers who apparently like to "talk Torah" but not DO it. These people apparently have no clue what the Bible says, so we're presenting the following as a "refresher course."
Romans 1: 28. And as they did not determine with themselves to know Elohim, Elohim gave them over to a vain mind; that they might do what they should not. 29. Being full of all iniquity and lewdness, and bitterness and malice, and covetousness and envy, and slaughter and strife, and deceit and evil machinations 30. And backbiting and slander; and being haters of Elohim, scoffers, proud, vain-glorious, devisers of evil things, destitute of reason, disregardful of parents. 31. And to whom a covenant is nothing, neither affection, nor peace, and in whom is no compassion. 32. These, while they know the judgment of Elohim, that he condemns those to death who perpetrate such things, are not only doers of them, but the companions of such as do them.
Every true believer who knows Scripture and adheres to it knows that YHWH hates social transgressions such as gossip, backbiting, condemnation, finger pointing, evil imaginations, slander, adultery, lawlessness and covetousness and a lying tongue. Our speech, both in the spirit and what comes out of our mouths, shows whether we are separated unto YHWH as a Kedoshim (Set Apart People), or separated from Him.
Torah strongly prohibits tale bearing, gossip and slander; we are required to speak Truth one to another in love. Y'shua taught: "I say to you for every vain word that the sons of men speak, they will give an account of it in the day of judgment." (Matthew 12:36).
The Hebrew term for gossip is "lashon hara" which means "evil tongue." One is guilty of lashon hara if they reveal secrets and go about as talebearers or engage in scandal-mongering. A gossiper is a person who has privileged information about people and proceeds to reveal that information to those who have no business knowing it.
"Gossip" is different from just "sharing information" in two ways:
- Intent. Gossipers often have the goal of building themselves up by making others look bad and exalting themselves as some kind of repositories of knowledge.
- The type of information shared. Gossipers speak of the faults and failings of others, or reveal potentially embarrassing or shameful details regarding the lives of others without their knowledge or approval. Even if they mean no harm, it is still gossip.
In the book of Romans, Rav Sha'ul reveals the sinful nature and lawlessness of mankind, stating how YHWH poured out His wrath on those who rejected His Torah. Because they had turned away from God's instruction and guidance, He gave them over to their sinful natures. The list of sins includes gossips and slanderers. We see from this passage how serious the sin of gossip is and that it characterizes those who are under God’s wrath.
Anyone can engage in lashon hara simply by repeating something heard in confidence. The book of Proverbs contains a long list of verses that cover the dangers of gossip and the potential resulting pain it causes. "A man who lacks judgment derides his neighbor, but a man of understanding holds his tongue. A gossip betrays a confidence, but a trustworthy man keeps a secret." (Proverbs 11:12-13).
Many friendships have been ruined over a misunderstanding that started with gossip. Those who engage in this behavior do nothing but stir up trouble and cause anger, bitterness, and pain among friends. Scripture tells us "a perverse man stirs up dissension, and a gossip separates close friends." (Proverbs 16:28).
Some seem to thrive on lashon hara and look for opportunities to destroy others. And when such people are confronted, they deny the allegations and answer with excuses and rationalizations. Rather than admit wrongdoing, they blame someone else or attempt to minimize the seriousness of their sin. "A fool's mouth is his undoing, and his lips are a snare to his soul. The words of a gossip are like choice morsels; they go down to a man's inmost parts" (Proverbs 18:7-8).
YHWH actually destroyed the earth once because He saw that man was wicked:
Genesis 6: 5 ADONAI saw that the people on earth were very wicked, that all the imaginings of their hearts were always of evil only. 6 ADONAI regretted that he had made humankind on the earth; it grieved his heart. 7 ADONAI said, "I will wipe out humankind, whom I have created, from the whole earth; and not only human beings, but animals, creeping things and birds in the air; for I regret that I ever made them."
Luckily for us, Noah found grace in His eyes (Genesis 6:8) and was permitted to continue the human race! Unfortunately, "fallen" man eventually gave into his sinful nature again...and has continued through to this point in time to disappoint God who - make no mistake! - will expect to hear an account of ALL our words and deeds on Judgment Day (Matthew 12:36)!
Y'shua taught: "For every tree is known by its fruit. For they do not gather thorns from figs nor do they gather grapes from a thorn bush. From a good man the treasures that are in his good heart brings forth good things, and an evil man the evil treasures that are in his heart brings forth evil things. For the abundance of the heart speak the lips." (Luke 6:44, 45).
For the sake of our eternal souls, we must learn to guard our tongues and refrain from the sinful act of lashon hara because it constitutes willful and deliberate sinning, for which there is no sin sacrifice! Those who guard their tongues keep themselves from calamity (Proverbs 21:23).
Ezekiel 18: 20 The soul that sins, it shall die.
Deuteronomy 31: 21 "And it shall come to pass, when many evils and troubles are befallen them, that this song shall testify against them as a witness; for it shall not be forgotten out of the mouths of their seed: for I know their imagination which they go about, even now, before I have brought them into the land which I sware." (ASV)
Prayer to use against those who wish YHWH's people evil:
Psalm 109: 20 This is what my adversaries want ADONAI to do, those who speak evil against me. 21 But you, God, ADONAI, treat me as your name demands; rescue me, because your grace is good. 22 For I am poor and needy, and my heart within me is wounded. 23 Like a lengthening evening shadow, I am gone; I am shaken off like a locust. 24 My knees are weak from lack of food, my flesh wastes away for lack of nourishment. 25 I have become the object of their taunts; when they see me, they shake their heads.
26 Help me, ADONAI, my God! Save me, in keeping with your grace; 27 so that they will know that this comes from your hand, that you, ADONAI, have done it. 28 Let them go on cursing; but you, bless! When they attack, let them be put to shame; but let your servant rejoice. 29 Let my adversaries be clothed with confusion, let them wear their own shame like a robe. 30 I will eagerly thank ADONAI with my mouth, I will praise him right there in the crowd, 31 because he stands alongside a needy person to defend him from unjust accusers.