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5 Reasons Why Women Gossip

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. My love for talking has turned into my love for writing, as I absolutely love talking.

But someone who loves words can be unwise if not careful and guarded. Solomon, the King of Israel who was acclaimed once as the "wisest person of his time" (I Kings 4:29-32), says in Scripture that, "in the multitude of words, sin is not lacking, but he who restrains his lips is wise." (Proverbs 10:19) In other words, the more we don't speak, the less likely we are to get entangled up in the birth of sin. A few chapters later, in Proverbs 14:1, Solomon talks about how "a wise woman builds her house, but the foolish tears it down."

Are you tearing down your house and your neighbor's house with gossip? Destroying relationships with your spouses, kids, co-workers, and friends through your own efforts, your own mouth, and your own tongue of gossip?

I confess I've gossiped many times. I've listened to gossip countless times too. And I've also been the victim of it a handful of times. It painfully hurts and can cause tremendous and potentially lasting damage. Gossip can "separate even the best of friends." (Proverbs 16:28) Our words are powerful.

The Power of Our Words

Our tongue might be small, but there is power in it. James talks about this in length in James 3:5-12, saying, "…we put bits in horse's mouths, that they may obey us, and we turn their whole body. Look also at ships, although they are so large and are driven by fierce winds, they are turned by a very small rudder. Even so the tongue is a little member and boasts great things. See how great a forest a little fire kindles! And the tongue is fire, a world of iniquity…it is unruly and full of deadly poison."

Although small, our tongues hold a lot of power. They can dictate our lives as this Scripture contrasts it to the bits in horse's mouths and a small rudder that turns a large ship. Though small, the tongue is capable of significant damage – a forest on fire type of damage that starts through small words of gossip. Hear this today – our tongue and every word we speak can be an instrument of evil if we allow it to be, or it can be a conduit of blessing, depending on whether it is harnessed by the Spirit of God.

We have all gossiped and have seen the personal hurt and damage it causes. While there are many reasons behind gossip, here are five common reasons why women may indulge in it. I encourage you to identify which reason you relate with, then choose to dismantle this sinful habit from your life today, choosing to be a woman building her house with set apart wisdom.

1. To make themselves feel better.

Women may gossip to make themselves feel better about themselves in areas they doubt themselves or feel insecure. Maybe you are trying to prove yourself to someone else or be more liked and accepted by others, so gossiping about others makes you feel better and look better to others. Or perhaps you feel so insecure hating so many things about yourself that hating and talking about others and their flaws makes you feel a little bit better about your flaws.

To stop this from being your reason for gossiping, take some time to read, meditate and pray Psalm 119 over your life, finding your value and worth in the Lord. Once you realize that you are of high value, an heir to the most royal family of Christ, chosen and set apart, you can stand tall in yourself and your identity in Christ, so you will have no need to belittle others to make yourself feel better by gossiping about them.

2. To take their focus off their own situation.

Women may gossip to take their focus off their own lives and situation by distracting themselves and gossiping about others instead. Perhaps your marriage is going through a difficult season, and your household is out of control. It's easier to focus on others' situations to ignore your own situation as it takes the focus off what's really going on.

To stop this from being your reason for gossiping, take some wisdom from 1 Thessalonians 4:11-12, where Paul encourages others to "lead a quiet life, minding your own business working with your own hands." By staying out of everyone else's business and concentrating on your situation and the tasks God has given you to do right in front of you, you are less inclined to gossip about others' lives as much. This lifestyle will enable you to be a woman with a testimony to other women, rather than known as one who gossips.

3. They are jealous of others.

Women may gossip because they are jealous of what others have that they don't. From the way they look to their seemingly perfect marriage to their social status or physical appearance. There is something in another person that a woman may be jealous of, causing her to gossip negatively about that person while actually being envious of them. Proverbs 14:30 says, "a heart of peace gives life to the body, but envy rots the bone."

To stop this from being your reason for gossiping, we must be content in our own lives and have gratitude for all God has done and will continue to do. Being content starts with being grateful. The more gratitude you have, the more peace you will have, and contentment follows. Philippians 4:6-7 says that "with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God, and then the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus." Allow peace to overwhelm your life by thanking God always – in all the big and small things, be grateful. This lifestyle of gratitude will slowly dismantle gossip and envy from continuing to rot your bones.

4. They are bored.

A reason women may gossip is that they are bored. Perhaps you are a stay-at-home mom with the same routine with the same mundane tasks where it feels like Groundhog Day every day. Maybe you are bored with the calling God has for you or the season you are in, and so, therefore, you get some satisfaction or entertainment from gossiping about others' lives because they are much more exciting than the one you currently have. Colossians 3:23 says, "And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men."

When we are bored in our circumstances, we tend to turn our focus off where the Lord has us and onto others and what's going on in their life. We might find the season we are in as insignificant right now. But take heart, every season matters as it is preparing you for what's next, even if you don't see its fruit yet. No matter what reason we are in, we are to do it wholeheartedly – to do it with all our heart, put in our best effort, and do it enthusiastically, as we are working directly for the Lord Himself. What a privilege!

To stop this from being the reason for gossiping, we must stop focusing our time on others and start focusing our time on our own life, even the mundane so-called boring life. We must embrace these seasons and begin to choose to do it with joy and excitement with all our hearts. This will help us not be prone to gossip about others because we are too focused on our own life instead.

5. It connects them to certain friends.

Finally, women may gossip because it might be the thread that connects them to others. For example, if you have a common hatred towards the same person with someone, you click instantly because you have someone in common to gossip about. In the same way that you might connect to someone who works out or enjoys the same activities as you do, gossiping can be an activity that connects you to a friend.

Do you have a friendship where all you do is talk about others? What if you were to take those people or that person you gossip about out of the equation of this friendship. Would you have anything else to talk about? In other words, your entire friendship is based on the activity of gossip.

To stop this from being the reason for gossiping, find new things to connect about with these certain friends, for it's harming you every time you get around this friend if all you do is gossip. Not to mention, it's damaging the person you are talking about. If you can't find another topic to talk about, then this may not be a friend for you, and I encourage you to pray for discernment. Sharing the common activity of gossiping is of no benefit to you, the friend you are gossiping with, or the people you are gossiping about. Ecclesiastes 4:29 says, "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."

Remember to Bring the Focus Back to You

Whatever the reason may be as to why you gossip, remember always to bring the focus back on you. We tend to gossip the most when we are focused outward and not inward. When we focus on what others are doing around us, this is when we get entangled in messy gossip, causing damage along the way. We must stay close to the Lord, focused on our lane in this race of life, and not get entangled and mixed up in others' lives and lanes they are driving in. For God has a plan for them and a plan for you. A very specific plan designed solely for you. Hebrews 12:1-2 says, "…let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us…looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith." Let's not look at others but look at Jesus and our lives He has already written out for us and only us. Let's start today – to stay more focused on where God has called us and less focused on others as we begin to dismantle gossip from our lives.

Photo credit: ©GettyImages/jacoblund

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.

You can follow her blog by visiting her website or connect with her on facebook + instagram.

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