"A gossip betrays a confidence, but a trustworthy man keeps a secret." Proverbs 11:13 (NIV)
If relationships are going to work, we have to be confidential with information.
Are you the kind of person that someone can trust with confidential information? We tend to think of gossip as one of those little sins, a misdemeanor sin. But when God talks about gossip, He puts it on a list with things like sexual immorality and murder.
Why? Because it is incredibly destructive to relationships.
What is gossip? Gossip is talking about a situation with somebody who is neither a part of the solution nor a part of the problem. And if we're honest with ourselves, what we're doing is making ourselves feel a little more important at somebody else's expense. We're talking about their hurts and their problems, but in a way that makes us feel a little bit superior to them. That's the danger and the hurt of gossip.
There's a story in the Old Testament about a family that struggled with gossip. Moses had a sister name Miriam who one day got caught up in gossiping about Moses amidst the rest of the people. God called them together - Moses and Miriam. He spoke with Miriam and told her what she'd done wrong and immediately He gave her leprosy.
But look at what God did next; he invited Moses to pray for Miriam's healing - to pray for the one who gossiped against him.
Some of you have been deeply hurt by gossip. The story of Moses and Miriam suggests God would say to you, "Pray for that person's healing, the one who gossiped against you. That way you can be released from the hurt that's come into your life."
Perhaps you're the one whose been gossiping. You've been the one talking about other people. This story is in the Old Testament to remind us how serious gossip is, how hurtful it can be to people no matter what side of the situation you're on.
The truth is, when you keep confidences it makes your relationships healthier. It enables you to keep connecting with others in positive and genuine way.