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Slander – gossip – idle tittle-tattle

  • Slander – is fun, but not if you are on the receiving end!
  • Gossip – is fun, but only if you are not being gossiped about!
  • Tittle-tattle – is fun, but not if you are being talked about!

The tongue – a dangerous and deadly weapon!

The tongue has the power of life and death
(Proverbs 18, 21)

This subject was sent in by Angela from Lübeck, Germany and extended with a few thoughts from


As an introduction to this subject, the group should make a few thoughts about everything which is a part of gossip, tittle-tattle etc. You can pose the following questions:

  • What is slander?
  • What does slander or talking badly about someone involve?
  • How is this represented? Are there different types?
  • What can it lead to?
  • How do we feel? (When we talk about someone else or when we are on the receiving end).

It does not matter who is gossiping about whom, it is sure to disturb a relationship: and that is not usually fun for anyone.

Link to the relevant parts in the bible

There are many parts of the bible which have something to say about gossip. The tongue is recognised as the perpetrator, which no one seems to have control over. The group can look at the different sections of the bible (see list below) and try to talk about it. In these parts of the bible, it actually goes far beyond the gossiping. You can go through the following presentation with the group which is an opportunity to prepare the theme.

There are several illnesses of the tongue

  • Excessive talking and pointless words
  • Chin-wagging and gossiping
  • Lies
  • Flattery
  • Miscellaneous

Excessive talking and pointless words

  • When words are many, sin is not absent, but he who holds his tongue is wise. (Proverbs 10, 19)
  • ?Wise men store up knowledge, but the mouth of a fool invites ruin. (Proverbs 10, 14)
  • Simply let your 'Yes' be 'Yes,' and your 'No,' 'No'; anything beyond this comes from the evil one. (Matthew 5, 37)

Why it is bad:

  • Because lots of talking can quickly lead to you making yourself guilty.
  • You say some things too quickly or do not mean it to come out like it does (in front of God too.)

We have to face our mistakes with words which:

  • were useless and insincere
  • were not really meant to be taken seriously
  • we did not mean
  • which do not really coincide with my own life.

Guideline: If I am not sure myself if I should say something, or do not mean it, then I should keep quiet or hold myself back.

Chin-wagging and gossiping

Definition: Slander - spreading malicious gossip, useless, untrue, over exaggerated and vicious remarks. In Greek, the word “devil” means a “slanderer“

  • Those who spread gossip = work of the devil
  • It is also our responsibility not to accept any tittle-tattle

LORD, who may dwell in your sanctuary? Who may live on your holy hill? He whose walk is blameless and who does what is righteous, who speaks the truth from his heart and has no slander on his tongue, who does his neighbour no wrong and casts no slur on his fellowman, (Psalm 15, 1-3)


There are six things the LORD hates, seven that are detestable to him: haughty eyes, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked schemes, feet that are quick to rush into evil, a false witness who pours out lies and a man who stirs up dissension among brothers. (Proverbs 6,16ff)

When do I lie?

  • Saying untruths
  • Twisting the truth
  • Omission of the truth so that the other person believes something else.
  • Over exaggeration/ under exaggeration



  • Speaking flattering words without being genuine.
  • Using flattery to reach your own goals
  • „Sliming up“
  • Pretending

„ A lying tongue hates those it hurts, and a flattering mouth works ruin. “ (Proverbs 26, 28)


  • Offending
  • Swearing
  • Dirty talk
  • Grumbling
  • Using the Lords name in vain

The tongue is a dangerous weapon because:

  • We disturb/hurt others with the things we say
  • We affirm ourselves and others negatively (words are powerful, God spoke and it was so…)
  • We cannot undo the damage caused.

There is forgiveness

Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective. (James 5, 16)

Concluding tips about how to keep control of your tongue.

  1. Talking is silver – silence is golden!
  2. Less is often more!
  3. Think first, and then act (talk)
    • think about what Jesus would say/answer/do?
    • What makes sense? What is useless to say in certain situations?
  4. Simply try to be quieter and try to hold yourself back.
  5. You do not always have to have the last word and you do not always have to be right.
  6. Simply try to be better and pray:

Set a guard over my mouth, O LORD; keep watch over the door of my lips! (Psalm 141, 3)

Bible references on the subject

Here are a few bible references on the subject of „gossiping, talking badly about others, talking rubbish etc.“

  • Matthew 15, 11:What goes into a man's mouth does not make him 'unclean,' but what comes out of his mouth, that is what makes him 'unclean ".

  • Matthew 15, 18: But the things that come out of the mouth come from the heart, and these make a man 'unclean.

  • From James 3: (…) 2: If anyone is never at fault in what he says, he is a perfect man, able to keep his whole body in check. (…) 5: Likewise the tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts. Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark. 6: The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole person, sets the whole course of his life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell. (…) 8: but no man can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison. 9: With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in God's likeness. 10: Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers, this should not be. 11: Can both fresh water and salt water flow from the same spring? 12: My brothers, can a fig tree bear olives, or a grapevine bear figs? Neither can a salt spring produce fresh water.

  • Psalm 141, 3:Set a guard over my mouth, O LORD; keep watch over the door of my lips!

  • Ephesians 4, 29:Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.

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