Luke describes the Athenians and strangers who visited there as people who spent “their time in nothing other than telling or hearing something new” (Acts ). This may not always be bad such as announcing the birth of a child, or a birth of a Christian or any news that individuals can benefit from by knowing. However, there is news that does not need to be announced to the general public. My news that is personal in nature and that all the brethren do not need to be aware of should be kept only between the responsible parties involved. Sadly though, many Christians seem to think that it is their responsibility to let others know all the things that they know. When this is the case they are just as guilty as these Athenians of old who enjoy “telling and hearing something new.”
Gossip is defined simply as “Idle talk, something that is not always true about people and their affairs.” Each Christian must strive to maintain peace and harmony which is not always easy to do but none the less we do have the responsibility to try (Philippians 2:1-2; Ephesians 4:1-3). Participation in gossip is easy. We often try to justify our actions with the reason that we are trying to help, and we may very well be, but telling people who are not involved and who most likely will not do anything to help the situation can and usually does lead to much more trouble.
Before engaging in “idle talk” ask yourself; Will it build up the body of Christ? Will it promote peace and harmony within the local church? Is it really something necessary to tell? Will it HELP the person being told and the person that it is about? Are we SURE that it is the truth? I would encourage all of us to think before we speak and make sure we are building up and NOT tearing down! Jesus said: “But I say to you that for every idle word men may speak, they will give account of it in the day of judgment; or by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned” (Matthew 12:34-35).