“The words of a gossip are like choice morsels; they go down to the inmost parts.”Proverbs 26:22 NIV
Writing devotional thoughts from every chapter in Proverbs means sometimes hitting the same themes more than once. And, since gossip is a major topic discussed throughout the book, it’s no surprise that here in chapter 26, gossip comes up again. As I’ve written before, one of the best definitions of gossip I’ve come across is this: gossip is sharing sensitive or confidential information with someone who is not part of the problem or the solution.
One of the biggest challenges with finding victory over the sin of gossip is that it can often be hard to identify. Of course, there’s the really obvious gossip that is clearly wrong and everyone knows it. “Did you hear about so and so? Let me fill you in…” But, there’s another kind of gossip that’s much more subtle. It’s described in Proverbs 26:22 as “choice morsels” that “go down to the inmost parts.” It’s gossip that doesn’t look or feel like gossip. It’s disguised as a prayer request or expressing concern for the well-being of a friend who’s headed down the wrong path. It’s sharing inside information that may seem harmless, but is still confidential and shouldn’t be shared.
Choice-morsel-gossip doesn’t feel sleazy like blatant, obvious gossip. We’ve all had those conversations where we knew we were gossiping, did it anyway, and left feeling like we just swallowed a rock. Choice-morsel-gossip is different. It feels good at first. We’re helping someone pray for a friend in more specific prayers. We’re bringing someone into the know so they won’t be caught off-guard when they find out the news. Doesn’t it feel good to have knowledge someone else doesn’t, and then to share that knowledge in a way that encourages that person to pray more? Not only am I helping the person who needs prayer by recruiting more prayer partners, but I’m also helping the person I gossip to spend more time with God! How can that be wrong?
Gossip is a sin. No matter what motivates it, it’s a sin. Even when I gossip with good intentions, I sin. Sooner or later, those “choice morsels” turn into rocks in the pit of my soul. Thank God for His continued grace! My prayer this week is that God will nudge us with conviction as we are about to share a choice morsel, and we will hold our tongues.