The headline read: Five reasons why women gossip. I immediately thought, men gossip too! So, what about men? Why doesn’t the headline say, Five reasons why people gossip? What’s going on here? Do men and women have different reasons? Or is that men, supposedly, don’t gossip? Like, maybe there’s another name for it when it’s men? Maybe, like the image says, with men it
Five reasons why women gossip, is from crosswalk.com, a Christian publication. So it made me wonder, is this another case of a male-dominated Christian group singling out women for something men do as well? To see why I say that, please check out Does Christianity really say wives submit to your husbands? BTW – it does, but …
Gossip is a big deal. It’s a problem, since it’s something Christians really shouldn’t do. And yet, we all do it. So I am going to address it.
But first, I need to do something right up front that the crosswalk article didn’t do unless you read the whole thing or skip down to the author bio. Here’s why the headline does, in fact, single out women.
Alisha Headley is a writer + speaker who has a desire to meet the everyday woman in her everyday life with biblical truth. Stepping into her true calling, she left the corporate world behind as a former-financial VP to love on her family as a stay-at-home wifey + dog mama, while also being able to pursue her passion as a writer. Healing from a chapter of life consumed with lies she once believed about herself, she is inspired to point women to Christ to experience the freedom + power to overcome those lies with the truth written in God’s word. In her free time, Alisha enjoys road trips around the country, working out so she can eat her favorite foods, and creatively styling her outfits with a craft for fashion. Alisha is a proud wifey and dog mama living in Scottsdale, Arizona.
Does it matter if the headline singles out women?
So, she’s a woman, who writes for women. Now it makes perfect sense.
But here’s the thing.
I asked the question, does it matter if the headline singles out women? It might. And therefore, in our world today, it does matter that women are singled out. Here’s why.
I’m reading Andy Stanley’s Not in it to win it right now. It’s about Christians, politics, and the various issues when they mix. Of course, this isn’t necessarily political, but it could be. But it’s also some that certainly can be divisive. Especially in light of the excerpt below, if we apply it to a men/women issue rather than a political one. I believe it’s valid, since all sorts of things divide us today.
And what does the evangelical church in America value most?
What do we fear?
Not winning or losing souls. We systematically alienated more than half the souls in America through our un-Christlike rhetoric and fear-based posturing. For all our talk of evangelism, revival, and reaching the lost, clearly those are not our primary concerns. That’s not what we value most. If it were, we would not have allowed ourselves to be dragged into and embroiled in far less noble conflicts with far less noble goals. If evangelism and discipleship were truly most important, we would not have so easily surrendered influence with those who need to be evangelized and discipled. We would not have allowed ourselves to be reduced to a voting bloc. A constituency. Part of the electorate. Pawns. Stanley, Andy. Not in It to Win It (pp. xvii-xviii). Zondervan. Kindle Edition.
Honestly, doesn’t going deeper into an initial reaction like – what about men who gossip? – fit in with that thought.
Think about it. With men and women, it’s pretty close to alienating half the population. Probably more than half, since I’m a man, and even I was shocked by the title.
And, this is a Christian publication. My first thought was, are they really saying that men don’t gossip? Or that it doesn’t matter if men gossip?
I could have just gone with that, written about what it said, probably not reading the author bio, and going off the deep end.
But, as I said, I’m reading Andy Stanley’s book. So I didn’t do that. Instead, I checked out things like, who wrote the article, to see if there was a reason, a good reason, why women were singled out.
As we saw, there is a good reason.
And as we know, if we’re honest, there isn’t a man alive who doesn’t gossip.
Therefore, I want to go through the list of five reasons why women gossip, and see if they’re equally valid for explaining why men gossip.
Five reasons why women gossip. Also, five reasons why men gossip?
In the same order as the article, and not in any other particular order, are five common reasons for gossiping.
BTW, something else I found useful from not in it to win it, is Andy Stanley’s use of the word “we”. After all, we’re not out to single out anyone. Not men. Not women. Not any individual. As I’m writing, I don’t want to give the idea that I’ve never done any of these. And as it’s read, I hope everyone reading it goes into it with the same idea of not placing blame on anyone. Or of saying anyone’s blameless. Because that’s not the point.
#1. We gossip to make ourselves feel better.
This one is clearly for both men and women. Especially if we look at it from a Biblical point of view. Let’s see if you remember this one.
10:35-45 pp — Mt 20:20-28
Mk 10:35 Then James and John, the sons of Zebedee, came to him. “Teacher,” they said, “we want you to do for us whatever we ask.”
Mk 10:36 “What do you want me to do for you?” he asked.
Mk 10:37 They replied, “Let one of us sit at your right and the other at your left in your glory.”
Mk 10:38 “You don’t know what you are asking,” Jesus said. “Can you drink the cup I drink or be baptized with the baptism I am baptized with?”
Mk 10:39 “We can,” they answered.
Jesus said to them, “You will drink the cup I drink and be baptized with the baptism I am baptized with, 40 but to sit at my right or left is not for me to grant. These places belong to those for whom they have been prepared.”
Mk 10:41 When the ten heard about this, they became indignant with James and John. 42 Jesus called them together and said, “You know that those who are regarded as rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. 43 Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, 44 and whoever wants to be first must be slave of all. 45 For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”
What’s the bottom line here? First, we shouldn’t be comparing to see if we’re better than anyone else. But second, on top of that, we should strive to be the servant of all. Not better than anyone else. But the servant of everyone else.
What’s left to gossip about after that? Maybe, that we’re the “best” servant of all? However, if we do that, then we’ve missed the point. Paul explained that in 1 Corinthians.
1Co 1:18 For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. 19 For it is written:
“I will destroy the wisdom of the wise;
the intelligence of the intelligent I will frustrate.”
1Co 1:26 Brothers, think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth. 27 But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. 28 He chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things—and the things that are not—to nullify the things that are, 29 so that no one may boast before him. 30 It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God—that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption. 31 Therefore, as it is written: “Let him who boasts boast in the Lord.”
1Co 2:1 When I came to you, brothers, I did not come with eloquence or superior wisdom as I proclaimed to you the testimony about God. 2 For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. 3 I came to you in weakness and fear, and with much trembling. 4 My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power, 5 so that your faith might not rest on men’s wisdom, but on God’s power.
Therefore, gossiping about others to make ourselves feel better about ourselves, makes no sense for a Christian. Why not? Because Jesus should be #1 in our lives. And gossip to make ourselves feel better actually takes us away from Jesus. It doesn’t make us better, but worse. And so, it shouldn’t make us feel better.
That’s true if women gossip. And it’s true if men gossip.
#2. We gossip to take our focus off our own situation.
Presumably, this is because our own situation isn’t good. The reasons why we turn to gossip about someone else might not even be the biggest problem here. After all, as Christians, we believe God’s in control. Although, we have different views as to just how much control. I invite you to check out a series on my other site for more on that – Predestiny versus Free Will.
Here’s why it matters when we turn away from our own situation. I used to avoid getting into what was happening by getting angry at God for doing/allowing various things to happen to me. It was a battle I never won. But, when I changed the question, things were different. Rather than ask why are you doing this – I asked what am I supposed to learn from this?
I mean, if we believe God does/allows things in this life, unless we also believe He’s totally capricious, there’s a reason. Even if the reason is sometimes bad things happen even to good people, it’s a reason. As Christians, our scripture says God is anything but capricious. For a deep look at that, may I suggest, Why do bad things happen to good people?
Again, this is true when women gossip. And it’s just as true when men gossip.
#3. We gossip because we’re jealous of others.
Do we even need to discuss this one? Christians and jealousy? The two shouldn’t come together. And yet, we all know they do. So, …
All Christians (should) know things like: God is love. And how Jesus spoke about loving even our worst enemies. Here’s something Paul wrote about love where he specifically included jealousy.
Ro 13:8 Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for he who loves his fellowman has fulfilled the law. 9 The commandments, “Do not commit adultery,” “Do not murder,” “Do not steal,” “Do not covet,” and whatever other commandment there may be, are summed up in this one rule: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” 10 Love does no harm to its neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.
Ro 13:11 And do this, understanding the present time. The hour has come for you to wake up from your slumber, because our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed. 12 The night is nearly over; the day is almost here. So let us put aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light. 13 Let us behave decently, as in the daytime, not in orgies and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and debauchery, not in dissension and jealousy. 14 Rather, clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, and do not think about how to gratify the desires of the sinful nature.
Once again, we see that gossiping, due to jealousy this time, is taking us away from Jesus.
And yet again, this is true when women gossip. And it’s true when men gossip.
#4. We gossip because we’re bored.
I want to bring in something else from Not in it to win it. It’s a point I often make over on God versus religion. Being a Christian is more than just believing in Jesus. It’s about our belief being so strong that it brings about action. Andy Stanley brings up that point in his book.
But follow Jesus through the Gospels and you’ll discover that the kingdom he introduced and invited us to participate in is a kingdom characterized by public behavior, not private belief. What he never said is as instructive as what he did. Jesus never said, By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you believe correctly. The world will know whose we are and whose kingdom we represent by how we treat, respond to, serve, forgive, and talk about one another. Do you know how many times the term faith appears in the Sermon on the Mount? Exactly one time. The Sermon on the Mount is not a treatise on what Jesus followers should believe. It’s a vision cast for how we should behave, how we should respond, and what to expect along the way. Here’s an uncomfortable excerpt: “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ ” Stanley, Andy. Not in It to Win It (pp. 110-111). Zondervan. Kindle Edition.
Given that, given that we’re to not just believe, but also act, and that we’re supposed to love Jesus will all our heart, soul, strength, and mine – guess what? There’s no room for being bored! Or, as the Bible puts it, there’s no room for idleness. Here’s what Paul wrote about that.
2Th 3:6 In the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, we command you, brothers, to keep away from every brother who is idle and does not live according to the teaching you received from us. 7 For you yourselves know how you ought to follow our example. We were not idle when we were with you, 8 nor did we eat anyone’s food without paying for it. On the contrary, we worked night and day, laboring and toiling so that we would not be a burden to any of you. 9 We did this, not because we do not have the right to such help, but in order to make ourselves a model for you to follow. 10 For even when we were with you, we gave you this rule: “If a man will not work, he shall not eat.”
2Th 3:11 We hear that some among you are idle. They are not busy; they are busybodies. 12 Such people we command and urge in the Lord Jesus Christ to settle down and earn the bread they eat. 13 And as for you, brothers, never tire of doing what is right.
2Th 3:14 If anyone does not obey our instruction in this letter, take special note of him. Do not associate with him, in order that he may feel ashamed. 15 Yet do not regard him as an enemy, but warn him as a brother.
Please note, we’re supposed to act as a brother or sister, not as an enemy or as if the other person was an enemy. Why? Because, yes, idleness can lead us to gossip and away from Jesus. But so can regarding the gossiper as an enemy.
As before, this is true when women gossip. And it’s also true when men gossip.
#5. We gossip because it connects us with certain friends.
Friends. Friends can be such a difficult thing. Just look at what happened to Jesus with some of His friends.
9:9-13 pp — Mk 2:14-17; Lk 5:27-32
Mt 9:9 As Jesus went on from there, he saw a man named Matthew sitting at the tax collector’s booth. “Follow me,” he told him, and Matthew got up and followed him.
Mt 9:10 While Jesus was having dinner at Matthew’s house, many tax collectors and “sinners” came and ate with him and his disciples. 11 When the Pharisees saw this, they asked his disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and ‘sinners’?”
See what I mean? The Pharisees didn’t like it when Jesus spent time with “those” people! Maybe we should just stay away from them altogether?
Well, not really. There used to be a question asked by Christians when they weren’t sure what to do. It was, “What would Jesus do?” In this case, we know what Jesus did.
Mt 9:12 On hearing this, Jesus said, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. 13 But go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice.’ For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.”
Jesus did spend time, even ate with, the worst of the sinners.
What should we do? We should not avoid anyone who’s not Christian. After all, it’s impossible to perform The Great Commission without mixing with non-Christians. If you’re not familiar with The Great Commission, and our role in doing it, please check out Is the Great Commission for Everybody, Somebody, Anybody or Nobody?
And while we are with non-Christians, we should remember Jesus’ prayer for us.
Jn 17:6 “I have revealed you to those whom you gave me out of the world. They were yours; you gave them to me and they have obeyed your word. 7 Now they know that everything you have given me comes from you. 8 For I gave them the words you gave me and they accepted them. They knew with certainty that I came from you, and they believed that you sent me. 9 I pray for them. I am not praying for the world, but for those you have given me, for they are yours. 10 All I have is yours, and all you have is mine. And glory has come to me through them. 11 I will remain in the world no longer, but they are still in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, protect them by the power of your name—the name you gave me—so that they may be one as we are one. 12 While I was with them, I protected them and kept them safe by that name you gave me. None has been lost except the one doomed to destruction so that Scripture would be fulfilled.
Jn 17:13 “I am coming to you now, but I say these things while I am still in the world, so that they may have the full measure of my joy within them. 14 I have given them your word and the world has hated them, for they are not of the world any more than I am of the world. 15 My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one. 16 They are not of the world, even as I am not of it. 17 Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth. 18 As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world. 19 For them I sanctify myself, that they too may be truly sanctified.”
This is where an important Christian belief comes from. That Christians are to be in the world, but not of the world.
What does that mean? Look at it this way. When Jesus was eating with tax collectors and other sinners the Pharisees wanted nothing to do with, what do you think was happening? It certainly wasn’t Jesus learning how to become a sinner! It was Jesus explaining to them why His way was the best way.
So following Jesus’ example, we can have anyone as a friend. Better yet, we’ll be helping a non-Christian friend in ways far better for them than anything they could ever offer us. That “of the world, not in the world”.
Conclusion – Five reasons why women gossip? What about men?
I guess you know how this ends. Number 5 has the same conclusion as numbers 1-4.
Women gossip. Men gossip. And in all cases, whether included in these five examples or not, gossip takes Christians away from Jesus. And since we’re brought up The Great Commission, gossip also prevents us from fulfilling that Commission, given to us by the namesake of our Religion.
And, as I know from personal experience, speaking to someone about gossip in a way that makes them feel like the enemy, even if that wasn’t my intention, isn’t good. It’s not how we’re to respond. because that takes everyone involved away from Jesus.
Ultimately, we all gossip.
My message for non-Christians, it’s a behavior in which we should not indulge. The fact that we do doesn’t make it right. So please don’t judge God for what we fail to do.
My message for us as Christians, we really must take the time to consider every word. As pointed out in the crosswalk article,
Most of us have listened to gossip, spread gossip, or been the victim of gossip. Nothing feels sharper than to wound another with hurtful words. Maybe some of you have heard the phrase “sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.” Not sure where I first heard that, but it could not be farther from the truth. Words hurt. I would much rather have sticks thrown at me than words and gossip spread about me that hurt to the core.
Not only do words hurt us when someone speaks about us, but the words we speak over others through our own gossip could forever damage what others think about them too. We know this firsthand as many of us have had words spoken over us over the years, and we have believed those words as our truth, and that truth has affected the way we have lived. In the same way, every word we speak to others could damage the way they live or how others view them.
Words can have severe damage, yet many of us talk so much that we don’t think before we speak.
And as James wrote:
Jas 3:1 Not many of you should presume to be teachers, my brothers, because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly. 2 We all stumble in many ways. If anyone is never at fault in what he says, he is a perfect man, able to keep his whole body in check.
Jas 3:3 When we put bits into the mouths of horses to make them obey us, we can turn the whole animal. 4 Or take ships as an example. Although they are so large and are driven by strong winds, they are steered by a very small rudder wherever the pilot wants to go. 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.
Jas 3:7 All kinds of animals, birds, reptiles and creatures of the sea are being tamed and have been tamed by man, 8 but no man can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison.
Jas 3:9 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.
So let’s try to remember all this. And to try, with the power of the Holy Spirit, to not gossip. That’s true for men. And it’s true for women. Because it’s true for all Christians.
Image by nneem from Pixabay