Gossiping or tale-bearing is sharing personal information about other people to people who would not have not otherwise known. Gossiping about people is quite different from lying about them, inasmuch as these two actions oftentimes accompany each other to Hell.
Prohibitions Against Gossiping in Scripture
How Gossiping is a Type of Objectification of the Other
Gossip is a very common bad habit and a venial sin that can possibly open the heart up to committing grave evils. What makes gossiping so dangerous is that it is the fruit of one of the greatest moral evils; that is objectification. When we devalue or diminish the humanity of other it always leads to objectification. To objectify another human means that we think less of them than who they are; that we do not see them as equal human-beings, but as lesser objects than us. Objectification is impersonal, it is not concerned about truly knowing neighbor.
Other popular fruits of the sin of objectification these days include: modern warfare (e.g. drones, bombs, chemical attacks, other impersonal killing methods), the sex industry (e.g. porn, sex slaves, voluntary prostitution), bullying, surgical and chemical abortion, and artificial birth.
For example, the reason only reason why those young men were able to drop that atomic bomb on the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki is because they failed to get to know the women, children, and men below, who were people just like them. For, certainly if they had taken the time to get to know them as fellow humans and children of God, they would have never killed them with that nameless bomb. Prostitution, pornography, and Strip Clubs are others forms of objectification. By devaluing woman and the intention for which God created her, these industries turn women into a sex-objects. Bullying is another common fruit of objectification, because it is only concerned about the ends (the selfish results), rather than the means. Like the other forms of objectification, surgical and chemical abortions and artificial birth control (in general) are not concerned about the person-hood of the innocent child. On the contrary, the abortion and artificial birth control are founded on the principle that the prenatal child is not a person, but just an inhuman object called a ‘fetus’.
By linking gossip with objectification and placing it in the family of actions that most Christians know to be moral evils, we see how gossip is not so innocent and harmless. For this sin not only harms the victim, but it also harms those who hear it as much as it harms the person who speaks it. In this way, gossip scandalizes the entire community of God’s people.
What is the best way to get out of the habit of gossiping? As a glutton prayerfully reigns in his appetite one meal at the time, so does a tale-bearer prayerfully reign in their tongue one conversation at a time. The great thing about getting out of the habit of gossiping is that there are plenty of opportunities to practice. Every time you find yourself in a conversation is, yet, another opportunity to try not to gossip. Each new conversation is like a new battle in the war and in every conversation that you take the time to be attentive to your tongue and not gossip is a fresh victory. As your victories multiple over time, so will your confidence.
Another tip I would offer is whenever you find yourself talking about someone who isn’t present, consider the words of Saint Paul and ask yourself whether you are desiring the best for your fellow human. “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is gracious, if there is any excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things (Philippians 4:8).
Lord God fill my mouth up with only things
that glorify your Holy Name and that edifies my neighbor.
Give me eyes and a heart to see your son Jesus
in everyone around me so that I won’t give them
anything less of me than what they deserve.