Gossip - that chatty talk about other people's intimate matters - is a favorite pastime around many office lunch tables and water coolers. If asked point-blank, most of us would say gossip is a bad habit, yet our culture treats it lightly. Every day we can access websites, watch television shows, or read tabloids to get the latest scandal scoop on celebrities and politicians. Some websites even send you an e-mail alert on late-breaking gossip. In our voyeuristic world of reality TV, being privy to intimate details of a person's life is socially acceptable.
But while we may innocently "dish," "get the goods," or hear "the dirt" on someone, God doesn't take gossip lightly. He says our tongues are set on fire by hell (James 3:6). He commands us not to gossip. For example, Proverbs 4:24 reminds us to keep corrupt talk from our lips. And God doesn't want us listening to gossip, either. Hearing gossip is about as bad as spreading it, since you can't erase the negative words you've heard about a person. Proverbs 26:22 says, "The words of a gossip are like choice morsels; they go down to a man's inmost parts."