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10 Things I’ve Learned About Gossip—and Why I Hate It So Much

I hate gossip.

I realize hate is a strong word. But it’s the one I prefer here. I’ve seen so many negative results caused by gossip.

Gossip happens in families, in the workplace—wherever two or more are gathered, gossip will be among them. And gossip is always destructive to building healthy relationships. I hate gossip in any setting—but especially in the church.

Relational gossip—especially among believers—shouldn’t even exist. We have to violate a lot of principles of God’s plan for the church and believers for it to exist at all.

Gossip is destructive and has no part in our lives or in the church. I’ve counseled with families caught in drama after the loss of a loved one and gossip is fueling their division. I have witnessed gossip destroy a healthy work environment. And I have worked with so many churches where gossip—drama—is a leading cause of why the church isn’t healthy—isn’t growing—isn’t accomplishing all God has for the church.

(I expanded this from a previous post where I addressed drama in the church. I decided gossip was the broader issue—and it applies to all relational settings.)

And I’ve learned a few things about gossip.

Here are 10 things I’ve learned about gossip:

Not all rumors are true. In fact, most aren’t—especially not exactly as they are presented. When we repeat things we shouldn’t, we seldom get all the facts straight. There is usually something we don’t understand.

People like to expand on what they think they know. People love to speculate, add their opinion to what they’ve heard. When they do, the story gets further from the truth. People enjoy telling others “the good stuff.” With practice, some have even learned to make things “bigger” and “better” than reality.

There is almost always more to the story than what you know. Whenever multiple people are involved, there will be multiple sides to the story. Even in stories involving only one person—if we aren’t hearing it from them, we only know what we know. We don’t know another person’s thoughts, history or individual circumstances. And it may or may not be what your mind stretches it to be.

Sometimes people don’t consider the ramifications of what they are doing. This is so true and so potentially damaging. I have seen gossip destroy a person—even seen it run people from the church—and some of the people involved in creating and furthering the drama wonder later what happened. They honestly didn’t realize the damage their rumor-repeating was causing. It’s so easy to get trapped in drama without considering the damage being done to others. I’m convinced, people don’t always intend the harm they cause.