good listenerA gossip betrays a confidence,

    but a trustworthy person keeps a secret. Proverbs 11:13 NIV

Early in ministry I was talking with a friend who shared a prayer request about job options. I had been married for a couple of years. I asked for permission to share with my wife, intending that she and I would pray for the request. He gave a quick, No! He shared that he had an expectation that what was shared remained confidently between the two of us. This exchange helped me throughout the rest of ministry to keep things private. 

When is sharing about others gossip and when is it okay to engage in prayer?

  • Gossip is listed in Romans 1:29 along with the evil, wicked, depraved and murderers. It is not a small subset of sins. If gossip were the only sin that a person committed, they would still go to eternal damnation.
  • Jesus said that we will have to give an account for every idle word. Matt. 12:36
  • Gossip presumes full knowledge of a person that you are talking about. Only God sees the heart and judges them accurately. 
  • If it is a true prayer request, ask for permission to share the information with specific people. There is strength in agreement prayer.
  • After sharing, make sure you pray. If you have time to talk about the need, you have time to pray with the person. Bring your request boldly before the throne of grace.
  • Ask yourself would the other person want you sharing about them?
  • Much gossip is shared as a way of comparison. If you are trying to show the failures, weaknesses, mistakes of others that would make you look better, this is blind arrogance in action.
  • Trust and strong friendships exist with the integrity of shared confidences. My wife knows the best and worst of me, and loves me still.
  • Keep conversation on facts and not assumptions. For instance, a person can be hurt during an accident. Your commentary on their addiction struggles and other derogatory information need not be shared in order to pray for healing and hope.
  • Would you want others to share and talk about you in the way that you are talking about them?
  • Don’t continue to listen to gossip. Find a way to change the subject. Ask if you can start praying.

Last thought. If someone will talk to you about other people, this person will also talk to other people about you.

May you be blessed with great friendships of people who do not talk about one another. May you guard your lips from sharing gossip about others. May you grow strong in your prayers of intercession.

Blessings  Love y’all