“Destructive people produce conflict; gossips alienate close friends.”

Proverbs 16:28 CEB

Public enemy number one in a friendship is gossip. When you look back on the road of your past and you see bodies strewn across the road, it’s because somebody threw them under the bus with gossip.

What is gossip? Gossip is idle talk or rumor, especially about the personal or private affairs of others; the act is also known as dishing or tattling.

Gossip takes a piece of a story or a version of a story that is incomplete to paint a picture of someone’s character without the context. People draw their own conclusion based upon incomplete information.

How does gossip destroy friendships? If gossip can be traced back to a person who calls themselves a friend then that person has betrayed a confidence. Trust is the foundation of a friendship. If someone can share your confidential information with another without your permission then that betrays your confidence in that person. Gossip kills friendships.

1. Avoid destructive people. Destructive people cause conflict. The only thing that should be coming out of our mouths is that which builds up a person. Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. Ephesians 4:29

2. Gossips alienate close friends. When you are messy people don’t want to mess with you. We have to be good stewards over information. Can people trust you to hold what they told you. If you have to use information that someone shared in confidence to get social acceptance from others then you’ve just devalued your friendship. You’re no longer a friend but rather a vendor of information.

3. A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for a time of adversity. If you are a true friend you are always looking for ways to protect the reputation of a friend. Friends don’t let friends get talked about. Don’t tell me what they said about me. Tell me what you said when they said something about me. When someone is going through adversity you don’t ask their neighbor. If you’re a true friend then you go talk to them.

There was an R&B group called the Emotions who sang it best:

Don’t ask my neighbors
Don’t ask the friends I hang around
Don’t be afraid to come to me
Don’t ask my neighbors, come to me
Don’t be afraid of what ya see
You’ll find I love you, come to me
Don’t be afraid

Dear God,

Help me to be the kind of friend that doesn’t betray confidence. Surround me with people I can trust. Friendships are very important and the authentic ones are very rare. Remove the number one killer of friendships known as gossip. Give us the ability to taste our words before we open our mouths. Use our words to build up and not tear down. Don’t let us be afraid of speaking truth in love to the people who need to hear and not entertain the people who just want to hear. Kill the spirit of gossip in my life!

In Jesus’ Name,