Everyone knows that one of the sins of the tongue is gossip, but we are sometimes vague about what actually constitutes the sin. Gossip is not a sin that consists of simply passing on information. Saying something like, “Did you hear that Susan is engaged now?” is not gossip. Gossip is the sin of passing on information with a sense of self-importance. A gossip appoints himself as the town crier. “Thou shalt not go up and down as a talebearer among thy people” (Lev. 19:16). That gossip is involved can be seen in the gossip’s disappointment whenever the information fails somehow to go through him. A gossip has a need to hear, and a need to tell.
Another characteristic of gossip is that it is regularly accompanied by idleness. When Paul speaks about women learning the bad habit of gossip, “speaking things which they ought not,” we see that they have become tattlers and busybodies because they were idle (1 Tim. 5:13). They were not industrious, and this gave opportunity to verbal sin.