When a fire finishes burning through the material it feeds on, it goes out. Similarly, when gossip reaches the ear of someone who will not repeat it, it dies.
Gossip, like other sins, is like “tasty trifles” (Proverbs 26:22). We like to hear it and share it with others because it “tastes” good. Gossip is rooted in our need to feel good about ourselves. As we bring others down, we gain the illusion that we are moving upward.
That’s why spreading gossip is so difficult to resist. It takes prayer and God’s grace to bring us to the point where we refuse to pass it on or even hear it—even under the guise of personal concern or a request to pray for a sinning friend in trouble. If we have an eternal focus we’ll see gossip as a form of prideful unbelief and selfishness.
We must ask God for the wisdom to know when to speak, what to speak, and when to simply keep our mouths shut. For “in the multitude of words sin is not lacking, but he who restrains his lips is wise” (Proverbs 10:19).
It is often wise to be quiet and speak few words. But if we must speak, let’s talk of those things that encourage and move others closer to God, not those things that will discourage and hurt them. “The tongue of the wise promotes (spiritual) health.”