<<whispers; scandalous information>>

These are either unconfirmed statements that carry no factual certainty or are partially misunderstood statements that are passed on (Jn 21:22,23). Although there maybe some measure of truth in a rumour there is also fabrication and speculation – ‘a reading between the lines’.

The Bible says words have tremendous power to build up or destroy, with gossip noted as a specific sin as a person who gossips betrays a confidence (Prov 18:21, 20:19; Rom 1:29; 2 Cor 12:20; Jas 3:2-12). We are to guard our lips, speaking only what is true, and even then only if it is beneficial to pass it on. Do not give a false testimony against

If not part of the solution, don’t spread the ‘news’

another or pass on untrue reports (Ex 20:16, 23:1). Consider does this ‘news’ build up or tear down another, would I like this spread about me, would I be ashamed if the person involved heard me spread this about them? Jealousy is normally the root cause of spreading rumours, the motive being to belittle
by speaking of the faults, failings and shameful details of others without their knowledge or approval.

The Bible compares listening to a rumor with delicious food – both are hard to resist for the enjoyable sensation (Prov 18:8, 26:22). When there are not more important things to do or speak about there is a tendency to speak about things that shouldn’t be mentioned (1 Tim 5:13). While a gossiper spreads rumours, a wise person tries to stop, or doesn’t participate in, circulating them, knowing that “without fuel a fire goes out so without a gossip a quarrel dies down” (Prov 11:13, 26:20). We are to speak the truth and not spread rumours or a slur about another because we are answerable to God for every word we speak (Ps 15:1-3; Mt 12:36).

See also: accountability, criticism, golden rule, gossip, motive/motivation, scandal, tongue, truth.