A Cry For Justice

Awakening the Evangelical Church to Domestic Violence and Abuse in its Midst

Don’t be Guilted by the “Gossip Card”

Many thanks to one of our readers for writing the following to us:
It’s not called gossip once a wife’s murder is reported after many years of hidden domestic abuse, but it’s called gossip if she talks about it before her murder. It’s not called gossip when it is reported that a company/man goes into bankruptcy, but it’s called gossip if his wife talks to people about her husband’s laziness and refusal to work (financial abandonment) prior to the bankruptcy.
Here is a lady who knows from hard experience. Abusers and their allies love to accuse truth-tellers of being “gossips” when the victims expose the evil that is being done to them. Don’t wear that accusation. It is false. Telling truth is not gossip or slander. Shining light on evil is not sin.
Notice her keen insight into the irony of it. Report a murder AFTER the murder, and it’s not gossip. Report the abuse BEFORE the victim is murdered, and suddenly here comes the accusation of gossip. The same stands for financial abuse or any other form of abuse. I guess it takes a dead body laying in a pool of blood in the living room before people will finally say, “he abused her.” Well, maybe the dead body is enough. Some will still say “she drove him too it.”
I have had this gossip nonsense thrown at me more than once by the wicked. What was fascinating is that birds of a feather, you know, flock together. When you expose one abuser, the others who may be around rush to the guy’s defense. “Don’t say such a thing about that man! I don’t want to hear it!” Well, why not? I can tell you why. Because if one abuser is exposed, when abuse is brought to light, it threatens any other such wicked people in the vicinity.
Sometimes this gossip card comes at you in a bit different forms. “Well, you know, we are all sinners.” “We just need to love people anyway.” “Jesus loves them too.” Most all of you have heard that nonsense. It’s all quite wicked and cowardly because it enables and protects the wicked. It really is an accusation against the person exposing the evil.
Excuse me, what did you say? Gossip? Is it gossip to say that the devil is wicked? Are we not to ever say anything bad about the devil? Jesus must have been guilty of gossip then?
I have observed firsthand over many years experience as a pastor all of these tactics exercised by the wicked. I used to be duped by them. Not any more. More than once I have had “fine ‘C’hristian church members,” pillars of the local church you know, accuse me of gossiping about them when in fact all that was happening is that they had realized that their wicked facade was no longer working. Abusers, you see, love secrecy, darkness, and silence. It suits their purposes and furthers their deception. By their “reasoning,” the Apostle Paul was a gossip. And actually, so is the true Church, and so is God!
Alexander the coppersmith did me great harm; the Lord will repay him according to his deeds. Beware of him yourself, for he strongly opposed our message. (2Ti 4:14-15)
But if all prophesy, and an unbeliever or outsider enters, he is convicted by all, he is called to account by all, the secrets of his heart are disclosed, and so, falling on his face, he will worship God and declare that God is really among you. (1Co 14:24-25)
Therefore do not pronounce judgment before the time, before the Lord comes, who will bring to light the things now hidden in darkness and will disclose the purposes of the heart. Then each one will receive his commendation from God. (1Co 4:5)
As the lady who provided us with this topic noted, the Apostle Paul even mentioned the sin of gossip/slander and then turned right around and named names of people wicked people!
But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty. For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, heartless, unappeasable, slanderous [“malicious gossips” in other translations], without self-control, brutal, not loving good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. Avoid such people. For among them are those who creep into households and capture weak women, burdened with sins and led astray by various passions, always learning and never able to arrive at a knowledge of the truth. Just as Jannes and Jambres opposed Moses, so these men also oppose the truth, men corrupted in mind and disqualified regarding the faith. (2Ti 3:1-8)
Also, our friend also noted,
Paul in 2 Timothy 4 says about himself, “I have kept the faith,”  and then further on he tells about all the people in his life who have disappointed him and done him harm (Demas, Crescens, Titus, Alexander). Yet, Paul is never rebuked for gossip.
Here is wisdom. Don’t be deceived by the gossip card.
Finally, here is a gem from Gary W, who often comments on Spiritual Sounding Board and The Wartburg Watch.

The use of the word “gossip” at 2 Cor 12:20 appears to me to be a bad translation of the Greek word ψιθυρισμοί/psithyrismoi.  Dictionary.com defines gossip, in English, as “idle talk or rumor, especially about the personal or private affairs of others,” and “light, familiar talk or writing.”

At http://biblehub.com/greek/5587.htm, however, we discover that the Greek word translated “gossip” actually means things like: a whispering, secret slandering, a whispering to “quietly” spread malicious gossip, and to whisper, speak into one’s ear), a whispering, i. e. secret slandering.

Gossip in the Biblical sense requires malice.

***
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Related post 
Blessings and Woes from the Politically and Spiritually Incorrect Lord Jesus Christ, and Naming Names

21 Comments

  1. Definitely putting this one in my “link to” file for abusive Facebook comments. Thank you.

  2. Anonymous

    Jude 1:16, These people are grumblers and faultfinders; they follow their own evil desires; they boast about themselves and flatter others for their own advantage.

    My husband tried to use this on me when I would point out something we needed or something that needed to be fixed etc. It’s like when we speak the truth about evil ones and we’re called gossips–when we say something needs to be dealt with–we are called ungrateful grumblers.

    The truth is that people without a conscience are NATURAL gossips, grumblers and faultfinders. Their brains don’t “waste” time thinking about love, how to serve the Lord, how to be a blessing to others through the Lord so that only the Lord will know etc. Their brains are instead full of these thoughts and emotions from Romans 1:29-32,

    They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. They are gossips, slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful; they invent ways of doing evil; they disobey their parents; they have no understanding, no fidelity, no love, no mercy. Although they know God’s righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them.

    This is ALL that they think about, these are the emotions and thoughts that govern evil ones and if you’ll notice it doesn’t say that SOMETIMES they are this way but that they have BECOME FILLED WITH…….to the exclusion of anything good. And apparently, if they DO have extra time to think about things to do it is to “invent ways of doing evil.” Those who belong to Jesus are OPPOSITE/OPPOSED to those who belong to the evil one. Are we getting it yet?

    • standsfortruth

      Yes my abusive ex once asked me with eager anticipation “Not all the times we had together were bad were they?”
      But secretly I think this was a set up question to find out if he had me fooled only 50% of the time.

      This way he would think that I still believed that he wasent playing me on the seemingly good times.

      But in hindsight I see the abuse cycle proved that he was manipulating me 100% of the time.

      • Cindy R

        Absolutely, cycle of abuse wheel it is all abuse either abusing or setting up for the abuse.

  3. Abby

    Any suggestions as to how to respond when we are accused of gossiping just for shining the light on evil? This is a number one tool of the Christian “nice” and it works so well. I feel immediate guilt when accused of this. It stops me in my tracks and then much later I wonder if it was really wrong, but it always takes time to get there. I would like to have an immediate response.

    • Hi Abby, here are some of our other posts about Gossip– there are probably answers to your question somewhere in them, either the posts or the comments threads.

      The false accusation of gossip

      Love covers a multitude of sins, but not all.

      Also, our Gossip tag has ten posts in it at the moment. Look in the top men for the Tags tab, from there you will find the tag for gossip. Alternatively, look at the bottom of this post (before the comments thread begins) and you will see the tags we gave to this post, click on the word “Gossip” there are you will be taken to all our posts which have the Gossip tag.

      • Abby

        Thank you Barbara. Those articles are very helpful. It occurred to me after reading “Love covers a multitude of sins, but not all,” that we have the wrong definition of what it means *TO LOVE.* I think the loving thing to do IS to expose evil. Once the person is exposed, they have a choice, to repent and truly change their heart or to continue to hide it with the help of well meaning Christians who are told to never gossip. One thing is for sure, at least for me, in my world it is a very lonely place when you are brave enough to expose evil.

      • … we have the wrong definition of what it means *TO LOVE.*I think the loving thing to do IS to expose evil.

        Exactly.

        And yes, it can be very lonely for those who are brave enough to expose evil. But on this blog, you will have a support group and cheer squad right behind you. 🙂 And you can also comfort yourself by remembering that Jesus relentlessly exposed evil (e.g. Matthew 23), Paul exposed evil from his very first sermon:

        Let all the house of Israel therefore know for certain that God has made him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom YOU crucified.” (Acts 2:36, emphasis added)

        and the other NT Apostles and the OT prophets all exposed evil — see this post
        Blessings and Woes from the Politically and Spiritually Incorrect Lord Jesus Christ, and Naming Names

  4. healinginhim

    The “gossip card” or being accused of ‘hanging out the dirty laundry’.

  5. Erika

    Well…I like your article a lot. I need some help with the comments from the pulpit from the kind of “abusive pastor”using cynism, anger and shouts at the congregation. Sadly, my pastor. I love him but this is becoming too much nowadays. What shall we do in such case? We’re praying for him but how to handle this practicaly? I would appreciate your advice. Blessings!

    • Ng

      As someone who has been through this kind of ‘pastoring’, my advice would be that anyone in that situation needs to get out. yes, confront them, lovingly and firmly, if that is how you feel the Lord lead you – but don’t be surprised if you’re going to be met with hostility and accusations. It is way better to be labeled as ‘rebellious’ than to stay in an abusive church enviroment.. under a toxic pastor.

  6. StandsWithAFist

    I have lived in the South (USA) for a while, and there is a funny saying here: “Baptists don’t gossip, they just have prayer requests”.

    Isn’t that the truth? How many of us have been the focus of a “prayer request”, falsely accused of gossip, when in reality the “prayer request” is itself gossip, while we have told the truth, exposed the lies, opposed evil? Yet these self-righteous Pharisees “gossip” via a “prayer request” when they are really doing a smear campaign and character assassination.

    Abusers will always twist scripture and spin the truth to their own self-serving idolatry. They get allies to support them, pay them off in favors, and work hard to shut you up. It is a betrayal of trust, truth and decency.

    Jesus opposed them, exposed them and even gave his disciples the command to “flee to the next city”. And even Jesus got weary enough to get in a boat and set sail to distance Himself from these accusers.

    Amen.

    • Abby

      “Baptists don’t gossip, they just have prayer requests”.

      So funny!!!

    • PEARL

      I once heard it said as when you go to a new church find out who is on the prayer chain and avoid them, that’s who the gossips are.

  7. E

    Clearly, Paul’s warning others about dangerous people was not gossip. So what is gossip? I believe it refers directly to an abuser’s covert and cunning triangulations: “A gossip (‘whisperer’) separates close friends.” His gossip undermines loyalties that threaten his power and control.

  8. Is there any qualification for when you wouldn’t tell someone about something evil said or done to yourself?

    I always feel guilty for telling what my husband called me. Like I’m secretly slandering him. Even on here. Like telling on him in a wrong way. But, I need help. Help coping with being called horrible things. I’m hoping for understanding of how much it hurts and if it’s my fault how to avoid the next time. Some kind of direction. Prayer. Im looking for support. I’m understanding it really doesn’t matter “how” I am. He will be how he wants.

    I told a pastor how I had been hit. Everyday for a week I called and cried on him. He asked if I had told anyone. I had. He wanted to know who. I told him.

    I felt I shouldn’t maybe have told them all but I was so hurt by what my husband had done it just came barreling out. After all that he had me talk to a woman in our church. I never shared what happened with her. I felt embarrassed by all of it. Nothing was going to be done. Nothing. Just me talking. Why bother. I knew the pastor was just pushing me off to her because he didn’t want to deal with it or know what to do. We left the church shortly after.

    He said my husband was under a lot of stress. I needed to do something nice for him. WORST ADVICE EVER!!!!!!! I did it and read 1&2 Peter as instructed. The entire time trying to figure out what I did wrong and how I could be better. Only to be told by my h how perfect I was trying to be and how I wasn’t a good Christian and shouldn’t be meeting with a friend to pray because I wasn’t doing the things I should etc.

    Every time my h and I have an argument and he calls me nasty things I think he’s stressed, or else he wouldn’t be saying these things. I know that’s not true. I just can’t change it around. Then we end up at the pastor’s (a different one) and my h says how I’m telling everyone. I’m asked if it’s true. And I never remember to ask who “everyone” is….but I say yes, I tell people. Then I feel like it’s ALL MY FAULT some how.

    Is my telling people the same level of evil as him calling me names and swearing at me?

    This memory of the past has just come back in real form. At least the name calling and attack verbally as to what kind of a Christian I think I am and how I pretend to be one etc. I’m remembering being called this before when I was trying extra hard because I wanted to get it right. I was trying too hard to please him. This time I’m not trying to please my h in that way but just trying to follow God and learn from him. It’s all distressful no matter which way you look at it. I told a couple people I wish I hadn’t because it may be called gossip and then nothing will happen because I will be under the microscope instead of him.

    • Is my telling people the same level of evil as him calling me names and swearing at me?

      No it is not. Not at all. When you tell people how your husband is hurting you, calling you names, swearing at you, etc, you are doing what the Bible tells us to do:

      Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them. (Ephesians 5:11 ESV)

      I encourage you to read this post The False Accusation of Gossip It has several more scriptures showing that it is right to expose evil and evildoers.

      You also said

      I told a couple people I wish I hadn’t because it may be called gossip and then nothing will happen because I will be under the microscope instead of him.

      It was not wrong or sinful for you to tell those people. 🙂 But it may have been unwise. I think your gut feeing is probably right — those people are likely to label you as a gossip, rather than believing you and supporting you. If they don’t help you and if they blame you or criticise you, they are not safe people for you to confide in any more.

      The sad reality is, there may be NO safe people in that church for you to confide in. But you can share as often as you want here and we won’t judge you. 🙂 We know you are telling the truth. 🙂

      Every time my h and I have an argument and he calls me nasty things I think he’s stressed, or else he wouldn’t be saying these things. I know that’s not true. I just can’t change it around.

      Wow, thanks for saying that! What a great way of expressing it! I think many many many of us can relate to that. While we are or were with our abusers, we were so brainwashed by their manipulation of our reality and perceptions, and so disempowered by the teachings of the church… that we thought like they thought… And as we started to come out of the fog, the new way of thinking (the clear truth) was quite often co-present with the old way of thinking (the fog, the brainwashing). You have described exactly what this can be like: simultaneously having the old thinking and the new thinking going on in one’s head. And how the old thinking has at times more power, more pull, more gravity, more glue, more binding, than the new way of thinking.

      Praise God that you are having the new way of thinking, even though it is isn’t yet overpowering and dispelling the old. You will get there! It is a process. And God knows exactly how best to help you through the process, micro seconds at a time.

      Thank you once again for your comment. It was brilliant!

      • Wow! Thanks for pointing that little growth out!!!! That’s exciting 🙂 And encouraging!!!! It feels great to be called brilliant too! Hehe 🙂 it really does.

        I feel free to tell and not feel guilty 🙂 I also feel free to be selective. That was powerful 😀

      • hugs and blessings in abundance to you, HisBanner!

    • Savedbygrace

      Dear HisBannerovermeisLove- I am so sorry for what you are going through, I hear your pain- any wonder it hurts.. the one who is meant to love and cherish you is physically and verbally abusing you. This is not right! It is not a reflection on who you are as a person! and it is not something you can fix by changing your approach with him, by ‘getting it right’ this time.. the guilt you feel is false guilt, understandable tho -as it is probably brought about by you being falsely accused by you husband time and again.

      The pastor who made the comment (in order to excuse your h) about your h being under a lot of stress is extremely negligent and culpable, and as you are realising, has served to put you further in harm’s way! with any amount of insight at all he should have been identifying that such behaviour as you were reporting to him was putting YOU under severe stress, he has failed to align himself with you as the vulnerable one.. ( I’m thinking Jesus would not be pleased!.. think “millstone around neck” etc!)

      Sometimes I think our brains see abuse as an ‘unsolved puzzle’ and then busies itself trying to ‘solve it’.. I think this is because we can’t imagine what would lead someone (who “loves us”??) to say/do a certain thing, so we look around for ‘explanations’ eg stress, my own imperfections, not pleasing him just so, etc and we often conclude “it must be me”. The reality is that they have made the choice to speak/behave abusively.. who knows why? and maybe it does not serve our sanity and healing to think too hard on “why”.

      Perhaps you can think of another phrase you can say to yourself when he starts up that can help you “change it around” eg here he goes again- choosing to call me names; or I don’t know what this is about but I do know it is not loving and honoring; or this is his stuff not mine.

      I am praying you will find at least one safe person with whom you can share your pain and who ‘gets it’. I have found it helpful just to have a couple of friends who I share all with plus a counsellor who specialises in domestic violence. This way I stay out of any potential ‘gossip loop’ as only those I can trust know my story.
      cyber (((hugs ))) to you x

      • Good point to not worry or think about the “why”. I have spun my wheels on that for too long. It hasn’t helped one bit only caused me to dig deeper into a pit of striving.

        I like the change it around new thoughts. I have caught myself thinking “here he goes again”. Ar

        It is odd that anyone especially a pastor would be so concerned about my h stress over mine after I was thrown across a room etc. Why tell me to do something nice for him. How about the other way around. Ugh, so painful still to think about this. The memory is tied to the name calling because of the effort to be better thinking I somehow deserved it because of my imperfections etc. then being told my efforts where garbage.

        Thanks for the hugs 🙂 ((hugs)) back

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