Overseer of God’s Remnant Assembly Akintayo Emmanuel Discusses the Perils of Gossip and How to Avoid It
Gossip can seem like nothing more than a casual remark or an off-handed observation. However, gossip in all of its forms can be more damaging and insidious than a blatant allegation or accusation. In severe cases it can ruin lives, and in extreme cases it can end them.
Steering clear of gossip — both on the giving and receiving end — is a lifelong challenge and commitment. While the Bible offers an abundance of invaluable guidance on this critical issue, according to Dr. Akintayo Emmanuel, the Overseer of God’s Remnant Assembly, three passages in particular should embraced and embodied at all times, and in all situations: James 1:26, Colossians 4:6, and Matthew 12:36.
Dr. Akintayo Emmanuel is also the founder of the Family Development and Samaritan Foundation (FDSF), a holistic humanitarian and philanthropic organization that is a member of the United Nations (ECOSOC).
James 1:26: “If anyone thinks he is religious and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his heart, this person’s religion is worthless.”
According to Dr. Akintayo Emmanuel, “Sometimes, we delude ourselves into believing that we aren’t gossiping about others, but are somehow trying to help by speaking about someone else’s problem or issue. However, if we are truly honest with ourselves and pay attention to our emotions and motivations, we realize that our intention is not to heal and help. It is to pass judgement, denigrate, or in some other way boost our ego due to the misfortune or suffering of others. We can try and fool ourselves, but we can never fool the Lord.”
Colossians 4:6: “Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person.”
“We can find ourselves in situations when someone else — perhaps a family member, neighbor, or colleague — says something denigrating and irrelevant about someone else, and anticipates our response so they can engage in a stimulating gossip session” claims Akintayo Emmanuel. “However, during these situations, we should not behave in a self-righteous manner, but instead communicate with grace and humility. For example, we can gently and politely say that we are not really interested in talking about a topic, we can try and change the topic, or if possible and necessary we can excuse ourselves and exit the conversation. Regardless of our method, we should strive to be kind, and to be role models that inspire others to act in a manner that is less destructive to others and, ultimately, to themselves.”
Matthew 12:36: “I tell you, on the day of judgment people will give account for every careless word they speak.”
“Sometimes, we engage in gossip because we don’t experience any adverse consequences — which emboldens us to gossip even more. However, this perception is fundamentally misguided. We will have to account for every demeaning, degrading, and dehumanizing word that we have spoken or written. This awareness alone should be more than enough incentive to live a gossip-free life!”