Read Psalm 41 (NIV)
5 My enemies say of me in malice,
"When will he die and his name perish?"
6 When one of them comes to see me,
he speaks falsely, while his heart gathers slander;
then he goes out and spreads it around.
7 All my enemies whisper together against me;
they imagine the worst for me, saying,
8 "A vile disease has afflicted him;
he will never get up from the place where he lies."
Author and pastor Tim Keller writes compellingly of these verses:
"These verses bring up the sin of gossip. People come to see David in his sickness (see verses 3-4) only to spread news that puts him in the worst possible light (verse 6). His opponents impute the worst motives to everything he does (verse 7). Gossip is not necessarily spreading untruths. It is revealing information that should be kept confidential (Proverbs 11: 13, 20: 19). It is giving news about a person intended to lower him or her in the regard of the listener. Gossip can do its work with tones of voice or a roll of the eye. While we may think of gossip as a harmless diversion, the New Testament lists it along with envy, murder, strife, and hating God (Romans 1: 28-30)."
David says "they whisper." It is amazing and frightening to see how such a quiet, nearly silent thing can cause such hurt, destruction, and damage.
Many people grossly underestimate the negative influence and power of gossip, slander, rumors, innuendo, and bad reports about people. Gossips hurt a church more than an arsonist who burns down their building.
It is time to take the sin of gossip much more seriously. Ask God right now to show you his heart in this matter. In another place, the psalmist prays something we should pray every day:
"Set a guard over my mouth, LORD; keep watch over the door of my lips."