Should Christians listen to celebrity gossip?
Spreading lies and rumours is like drinking deadly poison.
"They did what at the Grammys? He cheated on her with who?! She’s pregnant?"
Celebrity gossip. It’s like regular gossip, but cranked up to 100% on the sensationalism scale. Although we know most of it is blown way out of proportion, and most likely isn’t even true, something about it is just so… captivating.
To top it off, it’s everywhere! Even if you never watched TV and said goodbye to the Internet, chances are, you’d still manage to hear about Justin Bieber’s latest scandal. It’s hard not to hear about it.
The question is, how should you respond to it? Do you lean in closer to listen? Do you turn the page to read further? Do you use it to start conversations?
What does the Bible say?
Read the following Bible verses and then answer these questions...
"Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things." (Philippians 4:8)
"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." (Ephesians 4:29)
"Jesus replied: 'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’” (Matthew 22:37-39)
- Why do you want to listen to celebrity gossip (or any gossip for that matter) in the first place?
- Is gossip true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent, or praiseworthy?
- Is gossip helpful for building others up?
- Are you loving your neighbour as yourself or loving God by taking part in gossip?
The consequences of listening to gossip
"The words of a gossip are like choice morsels; they go down to the inmost parts." (Proverbs 18:8)
The book of Proverbs describes words of gossip as “choice morsels.” It can be tempting to consume gossip. The media know people love to gobble it up; that’s why they keep feeding it to us.
But gossip is like a drug. The more we consume it, the more addicted we become, and the more numb we become to real life.
Gossip can change our worldview and influence us!
Think about it. Why is it that nothing really surprises us anymore? Increasingly outrageous stories about celebrities constantly saturate the news. If we’re not careful, we might begin to think the way celebrities’ lives are depicted is normal and even acceptable.
Remember, the stories might not even be true. You might think to yourself, “Just because I heard about some famous person sleeping around doesn’t mean I’d do anything like that.” And that may be true. But the problem is revealed in the second half of Proverbs 18:8... “they go down to the inmost parts.”
Words of a gossip “sink deep into one’s heart,” as the New Living Translation puts it. You can’t expect to consume something without it having any effect on you.
The fact about gossip, no matter who it’s about—a celebrity or the girl next door—is that it spreads. It may seem harmless to talk about someone far off in Hollywood, but talking about others’ private lives can easily become a habit that creeps into our daily interactions without us even realising it. Next thing you know, you might be spreading rumours about your best friend!
Gossip hurts others and causes division
"A gossip betrays a confidence, but a trustworthy person keeps a secret." (Proverbs 11:13)
"A perverse person stirs up conflict, and a gossip separates close friends." (Proverbs 16:8)
Not only does gossip affect your daily behaviour, it also hurts those around you. Nobody likes being talked about behind their back. It betrays confidence; it separates close friends.
We often dismiss the negative impact words can have. But gossip is rumours and lies, and most times, it puts people down. This is not something to be taken lightly. The book of James tells us:
"... but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison. With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse human beings, who have been made in God’s likeness. Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers and sisters, this should not be." (James 3:8-10)
By taking part in gossip, it’s like we’re spreading deadly poison. And by listening to gossip, it’s like we’re drinking deadly poison. That sounds pretty serious, that’s what our tongue is capable of, and we can’t stop it—at least not on our own.
So what can we do about it?
Ask God for self-control to stay away from gossip
"Set a guard over my mouth, Lord; keep watch over the door of my lips." (Psalm 141:3)
"Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will." (Romans12:2)