"...the tongue is a fire, a world of unrighteousness. The tongue is set among our members, staining the whole body, setting on fire the entire course of life, and set on fire by hell. For every kind of beast and bird, of reptile and sea creature, can be tamed and has been tamed by mankind, but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison. With it we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse people who are made in the likeness of God. From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brothers, these things ought not to be so. Does a spring pour forth from the same opening both fresh and salt water? Can a fig tree, my brothers, bear olives, or a grapevine produce figs? Neither can a salt pond yield fresh water."
Yes, that dirty little wagger that rolls your food and picks between your teeth is a "world of unrighteousness" that sets "on fire the entire course of life" and is itself "set on fire by hell." It is, metaphorically, the instrument of hypocrisy, deceit and death.
The question now becomes, what is gossip? Simply stated, it is "idle talk or rumor (sic), [especially] about the personal or private affairs of others." Frivolous talking and rumouring about other people's personal lives is an active poison spat out by serpentine tongues. For a Christian, the allusion to being a snake should give pause for concern, yes? Afterall, who was it that hissed out his venomous words in the Garden? Just who's image and likeness are you living, anyway? Think about it.
But that only deals with direct gossip. That is, purposeful, knowing talk about other's lives that you don't have any business chattering on about. Then there's indirect gossip, or what I like to call "pastoral gossip." This is the kind of gossip that slithers its way into conversations because someone has a 'Christian concern', or 'needs advice', or 'would like an objective perspective', or a 'third-party look at the situation'. Let me save you the work of figuring out why this is not acceptable: because until you have approached the person you are 'concerned' about, you have no business involving anyone else. At all. Ever. Period. Your business, should you have a concern, is to lovingly go to the person you're concerned about, and express yourself. Meeting at restaurants, or on the telephone, or whispering through darkened windows, from car to car, or in the privacy of a confessional to keep people up-to-date, as it were, on why so-and-so needs 'prayer' is still gossip. When you disclude the person who is the focus of your thoughts, you are a gossip.
- Go to the person(s) you are wanting to talk about. Then talk with that person(s). After that, unless you have permission from that person to talk with others, shut yer festerin' pie-hole.
- Since gossip seems to be the bar for many Christians, try raising it to something better (like honesty, just for shits and giggles. You can graduate to honesty as a principle as you are capable), instead of living under it as if it were a roof.
Gossip is something that the religious and the non-religious alike are guilty of. It just seems to be the rampant modus operandi, the on-going and preferred trend amongst Christians. Being a Christian doesn't cede the moral high-ground to a person with a concern; it doesn't award pastoral status to whoever is within earshot; it does absolutely nothing to endorse an open-mouth policy where others' personal lives are a possible subject. In fact, being a Christian should mean shutting-up, being respectful of other's privacy, and taking care to observe (according to Christian beliefs) with even more diligence than non-Christians that you are direct with the person in question. Anything less puts you more on level with Cain than Abel.