I’ve heard people say that it’s not gossip because it’s true. Well, first of all let me say that in my experience that’s rarely the case. Secondly, it doesn’t matter if it’s true or not. If it’s not your information to share, it’s gossip.
A lot of gossip is shared in the guise of prayer requests. I’ve watched men and women share juicy bits of gossip (i.e. Bob’s drinking again or Susie’s car’s been outside John’s house for the last two days) as though they were concerned, when they really just wanted to spread the news. Sharing a true concern confidentially with a prayer partner is a good thing. Spreading hearsay isn’t.
Even positive information is gossip if it isn’t yours to share. Pregnancies come to mind. Unless a general announcement has been made publicly, it’s not your information to share. Otherwise, you’re robbing the parents or grandparents of sharing the joyful news.
Having been the object of gossip through the years, I can tell you that it’s always hurtful and almost never true. One of my favorites was the woman at a church we used to attend. I was the church secretary and had answered a question from someone else about whether or not the church was available on a particular date. It wasn’t. This woman went to the pastor to complain that I’d turned down a request to do a wedding at the church and made the bride cry. (It wasn’t the bride-to-be who’d asked, and I didn’t even know it was a wedding they were asking about.) Why is this my favorite? Because her words to the pastor were, “And don’t tell me this is gossip. It’s not. It’s true.”
Unless you know firsthand that it’s true, it’s helpful, and it’s loving, don’t share it. It’s gossip.