“A perverse man sows strife,
And a whisperer separates the best of friends.”
The Hebrew word for gossip and talebearer is closely associated with the word used for whisper. In fact, the New King James version interprets gossip as whisperer. A whisper seems so innocent and casual, yet it can destroy a person as it spreads like wildfire.
This word in both the Hebrew and Greek is quite intriguing and insightful as to why God categorizes it with things like murder. The word whisper was used in the context of “the magical murmuring of a charmer of snakes.”[i] It meant “to mumble a spell,”[ii] as was accustomed to someone involved in witchcraft.
Something else that happens when we enter into whispering about another is that something is actually released in the spirit towards that person. This may seem a little hyper-spiritual or hokey, but it is something that we must seriously consider. The writer of Proverbs says that,
“The tongue has the power of life and death,
and those who love it will eat its fruit.”
(Proverbs 18:21 NIV)
Think about some of the words that have been spoken to you over your life. Our beliefs are formed based on the repetition and the impact of words that have been spoken over us. Out of the mouth, the Bible says, flows forth the power of blessing or cursing. James says that with our mouth we bless God and then turn around and curse our neighbor.
When Scripture says that the mouth carries the power to bless or to curse, it is not merely being poetic. Rather, literally with your mouth you can bless something or you can curse something. You can release life or you can release death. You can release vitality or you can release a stench that proceeds and begins to rot.
Words are containers. They are containers that hold something that goes forth. When the message of those words hits the person or thing that it is talking about, it has the ability to explode. The power of that explosion will either constructively build up or destructively break down.
“There is one who speaks like the piercings of a sword,
but the tongue of the wise promotes health.”
“Many a blunt word has a sharp edge.
Keep your words soft and sweet;
you never know when you may have to eat them.”
There is a spiritual power attached to words, both words of edification and destruction, blessing and cursing. These degrading, fault-finding, blame-shifting words spoken, even in private, go forth and attach themselves to the person being discussed like a witch’s spell or incantation. It is witchcraft. It doesn’t matter whether the person that we’re referring to is physically there or not. This is one of the reasons Scripture speaks so directly regarding gossip, whispering, and tale-bearing. It is degrading, destructive, witchcraft, and demonic.
“You are snared by the words of your mouth;
You are taken by the words of your mouth.”
q The roots of the Biblical word for gossip carries with it the meaning of mumbling a spell, as in witchcraft. If this is the case (which it is), what are the possible ramifications of gossiping about another person?
Jesus gave us a spiritual promise that we typically apply to prayer and worship settings. He said,
"For where two or three are gathered together in My name,
I am there in the midst of them."
q Could it be that this isn’t just a promise, but a spiritual principle, that in some way applies to all of humanity? Could it be, when two or three are gathered together in someone’s name, talking about them, that there is actually a power in the words being spoken, that something is released in the spirit that can essentially affect that person, thus they are in a sense, in the midst of them?
“It would be better to leave people wondering
why you didn't talk than why you did.
When all is said and done,
there's a lot more said than done.”
“If someone paid you ten cents for
every kind word you said about people,
and collected five cents for every unkind word,
would you be rich or poor?”
Henry N. Ferguson
“Have you talked to [that person] about this?”
“Can I quote you on this?”