Dear Dr. Graham:
I get very upset at people who claim to be Christians, but spend all their time gossiping about others and tearing them down. Christians are supposed to be kind and loving, aren’t they?
— Mrs. V.W.
Dear Mrs. V.W: Yes, of course Christians are supposed to be kind and loving — just as Jesus is kind and loving toward us. Anyone who claims to follow Jesus but gives themselves over to gossip and negative criticism is not following His commands. Jesus said, “My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you” (John 15:12).
Why are gossiping and tearing others down so wrong? One reason is because they are seldom truthful; in fact, they’re often an outright lie. And when it gets passed along, it often gets farther and farther from the truth. It’s also wrong because the motive behind it is wrong; we don’t gossip behind someone’s back in order to build them up, but to tear them down. Often, we’re also only trying to build ourselves up, showing how important or ‘in the know’ we are — which is wrong.
But gossip and backbiting are also wrong because of the results. How many reputations have been destroyed because of gossip? How many churches have been ripped apart because of someone’s malicious tongue? Instead of bringing healing and peace, gossip almost always brings discord and conflict. No wonder the Bible warns us against “discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, slander, gossip, arrogance and disorder” (2 Corinthians 12:20).
Don’t be disillusioned because of a few who claim to be following Jesus, but aren’t. Instead, make sure your faith and trust are in Christ. He alone is worthy of your trust, because He alone “committed no sin, and no deceit was found in his mouth” (1 Peter 2:22).