Gossip, the Spoken Word

Gossip is "casual or unconstrained conversation or reports about other people, typically involving details which are not confirmed as true; rumor or talk of a personal, sensational, or intimate nature; to engage in or communicate idle, indiscreet talk." A gossip is "a person who habitually spreads intimate or private rumors or facts." A rumor is "unverified information of uncertain origin usually spread by word of mouth."

Bridle your tongue

The motive for gossip is rarely instructive, being instead most destructive. Gossip is composed primarily of idle words, often damaging to the reputation of others; thus, gossip is a terrific misuse of the spoken Word. Idle words, including gossip, are investments of the gossip's own soul substance, and more damaging to the soul than sexual promiscuity. Indulging in gossip is both a taint and a sin, the degree of severity depending on the gossip's intended malice.

Edna Lister on Gossip

When you gossip, you misuse the power and substance that would rebuild your body. ~ Edna Lister, Eightfold Path of Buddha, January 26, 1935.

Mention darkness only to lift and not for the purpose of gossip. ~ Edna Lister, September 6, 1938.

Have no dealings with any kind or sort of gossip. There is no such thing as harmless gossip. All such is harmful. ~ Edna Lister, November 6, 1938.

The Gates of Heaven are closed against disobedience, waywardness, doubts or gossip, and of these, gossip is the worst, for it always leads to full disobedience. ~ Edna Lister, December 16, 1938.

Hush your complaints, or law may charge you with the debt of gossip. ~ Edna Lister, October 18, 1939.

Allow each soul to proceed or fall back without comment or gossip. What is that to thee? Follow thou me. ~ John 21:22. ~ Edna Lister, October 18, 1939.

Allow no outer gossip or suggestion to move you to let go your hold upon light. ~ Edna Lister, March 14, 1940.

Idle words include gossip and self-pity. ~ Edna Lister, A Design for Ascension, 1941.

Hold your little self in abeyance, and hold your work before God far nobler than petty gossip, criticism or anything that may happen. ~ Edna Lister, February 13, 1941.

Your work must remain unpolluted by gossip, envy, incitement to envy, jealousy or criticism. ~ Edna Lister, May 7, 1941.

You run at about 10 percent physical efficiency on a daily basis, dissipating your other 90 percent in silly gossip, frittering it away in imagination. ~ Edna Lister, Life In a Nutshell, "Peak Performance," 1943.

You have no excuse for gossip. Lack of discretion gets you in trouble with others. ~ Edna Lister, January 30, 1944.

You may gossip to analyze and to lift, but must lift the associated debts by nightfall. ~ Edna Lister, April 27, 1944.

Speak about the past to lift the soul substance invested only, not for gossip or vain repetition. ~ Edna Lister, September 11, 1944.

Complete surrender to the Master's service is far mightier than the many who bicker, find fault one with another, let self dictate or spend precious time in gossip. ~ Edna Lister, September 14, 1944.

Idle words, actions, idle expenditures of energy, such as gossip, criticizing, and self-condemnation all must be accounted for in each day's final judgment. ~ Edna Lister, July 17, 1945.

Gossip is a cover-up of your own limitations and adultery. ~ Edna Lister, August 14, 1945.

Someday you must learn to handle people without forgetting where your loyalty lies; those in leadership positions must "gossip" to share all darkness, and pay each other's debts from the outside. ~ Edna Lister, April 29, 1948.

Some people use up their soul substance through gossip until they have just enough energy for half the day. ~ Edna Lister, December 1, 1948.

Gossip is picking up other people's darkness. Gossip includes the internal argument when you mentally tell someone off. ~ Edna Lister, Open Miracles, June 16, 1953.

When someone lies or gossips about you, you could fix it in ten words, but to speak those ten words does not cover the lie with Light or hide the other's transgression. ~ Edna Lister, Success Through Divine Action, July 14, 1953.

Thou shalt not bear false witness. ~ Exodus 20:16, refers to lying on the outer. Yet you bear a false witness if you stand by and do nothing when someone needs your witness. Silently lifting gossip to the altar, and graciously covering others' transgressions is good. Cover gossip most of all. You bear a false witness if you enjoy listening to it. ~ Edna Lister, Now Is the High Time, December 6, 1953.

If you repeat gossip, you commit a double offense. Cover the transgression while your friend gossips. Shoot the works, put a cross on her lips and surround her in a pillar of fire while you lift. Declare that Light washes her and her listeners' brain cells clean, and no one remembers the gossip. ~ Edna Lister, Now Is the High Time, December 6, 1953.

When I was six, my mother let me stay in the room when company called, if I sat quietly in a corner in my little rocker, reading my book of fairy tales. I placed every caller as a type in the fairy tales. If they came in dropping toads and vipers, I would just look at them until the Light came through, and they stopped gossiping and started dropping pearls. Whenever I hear gossip, I just look at people in silence. ~ Edna Lister, December 6, 1954.

Your words, blessings, curses or gossip, come home to roost, and sometime, somewhere you must eat every word you utter that is unlike the Love of God. ~ Edna Lister, Promises Are Keys, May 29, 1955.

You are a fool to repeat tales. It makes no difference what others do; do not wallow in gossip. If you could see the Master's heart bleeding from what "they say." ~ Edna Lister, January 16, 1956.

See that none render evil for evil unto any man, but ever follow that which is good. ~ 1 Thessalonians 5:15. Evil is any darkness, misuse, gossip, slander, doubt, blame or suspicion. Lift it, and cross it out if you hear it. ~ Edna Lister, Daring to Do, April 22, 1956.

Every description of an episode of illness, faults, government, etc., recreates it and it has to be absorbed again. ~ Edna Lister, Nor Shadow of Turning, July 15, 1956.

You wreck yourself and loved ones with idle thoughts, words, and gossip that hits the mark. Each word adds to itself as it goes forth, returns with force, and you wonder why. ~ Edna Lister, The Life, Your Practice, October 28, 1956.

When someone has spoken evil of another, as in gossip, hold him on a cloud where he can do no more harm; seal his tongue and lips with a cross of fire. ~ Edna Lister, December 17, 1956.

Gossips are self-centered vampires. ~ Edna Lister, November 11, 1956.

Words of gossip affect the liver, the organ symbolizing sincerity. ~ Edna Lister, December 30, 1957.

Never allow gossip or suggestions to move you to let go of your hold on Light. ~ Edna Lister, April 24, 1958.

Jesus the Christ does not gossip. ~ Edna Lister, August 7, 1958.

As gossip falls from another's lips, declare it lifted. ~ Edna Lister, September 8, 1958.

St. James exhorted us to "bridle the tongue" since no other avenue of misuse squanders soul substance as rapidly. One hour's idle gossip undoes the lifting and conquering of an entire month. ~ Edna Lister, Ten Commandments and Beatitudes, November 4, 1958.

Never repeat gossip or another's opinion of a situation. ~ Edna Lister, Ten Commandments and Beatitudes, November 4, 1958.

Gossip gives its subject power. ~ Edna Lister, July 7, 1959.

Those buried in the "grave of self" have become martyrs to self by misusing their creative powers in criticism, condemnation, opinions, prejudice and gossip. ~ Edna Lister, I Am the Life, October 18, 1959.

To hold a tongue of good repute means to use wise speech with no idle words or gossip. ~ Edna Lister, The 33 Degrees of Soul Conquering, October 20, 1959.

You recreate yourself in the image and likeness of the gossip that you rehash gullibly — weak heart, liver, eyes. Wisdom does not recreate earth's darkness. ~ Edna Lister, The Rebirth, June 9, 1963.

You get from life everything that you give to God, minus your deductions, which are idle words, resentments, criticism, gossip. ~ Edna Lister, June 16, 1963.

Relating information about a person or a situation is not gossiping or recreating, if it is without emotional prejudice, unrighteous judgment, and truly based in loving compassionate understanding. Then telling about it does not recreate it, and the underlying rejoicing over the cleansing and return of a lost sheep, scrapes it clean. ~ Edna Lister, November 13, 1963.

One hour's idle gossip can undo the lifting and conquering of an entire month. ~ Edna Lister, The Ten Commandments and the Beatitudes, April 21, 1964.

Put crosses of fire on the lips of all gossips, name-callers, and whiners in families, offices and groups, to speak only words of love. ~ Edna Lister, June 22, 1965.

Do not enter into gossip, or criticize those who do. If you criticize, you pay a debt. ~ Edna Lister, August 25, 1966.

Any gossip or stories you repeat creates more debts for everyone, especially for the one at their source, debts which you must share. ~ Edna Lister, Five Important Steps in Ascension, 1968.

As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up. ~ John 3:14. You give up gossip, self-pity, blame, hatred, jealousy, and especially habits to lift up the serpent. ~ Edna Lister, The Keys of the Kingdom, June 16, 1968.

Rumors and gossip are the "arrows that fly by day" (Psalm 91:5). ~ Edna Lister, From Earthbound Slavery to Winged Glory, June 23, 1968.

Gossip is using idle words to recreate past incidents. Don't recreate the past to build debt for yourself and a double debt for the one who started it. ~ Edna Lister, The Heavenly Mysteries Unveiled, October 20, 1968.

Abstain from all appearance of evil. ~ 1 Thessalonians 5:22 means much more than crime or evil — it includes idle words, repeating gossip or slander. Gossip recreates past incidents, which builds karmic debts and a double debt for the one who started it. Say as little as possible, for only your "own" can come to you. ~ Edna Lister, The Heavenly Mysteries Unveiled, October 20, 1968.

Rejoice when they gossip about you. They're paying your spiritual debts. ~ Edna Lister, May 19, 1971.

Top ↑

New Testament on Gossip

What I tell you in darkness, that speak ye in light: and what ye hear in the ear, that preach ye upon the housetops. ~ Matthew 10:27.

Whatsoever ye have spoken in darkness shall be heard in the light; and that which ye have spoken in the ear in closets shall be proclaimed upon the housetops. ~ Luke 12:3.

Abstain from all appearance of evil. ~ 1 Thessalonians 5:22.

Top ↑

Old Testament on Gossip

He that hath a froward heart finds no good: and he that hath a perverse tongue falls into mischief. ~ Proverbs 17:20.

Death and life are in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof. ~ Proverbs 18:21.

Whoso keeps his mouth and his tongue keeps his soul from troubles. ~ Proverbs 21:23.

Top ↑

Gossip in Other Sacred Writings

Honor and shame is in talk, and your tongue is your fall. ~ Wisdom of Ben Sirach 5:13.

He who can rule his tongue shall live without strife; and he who hates babbling shall have less evil. ~ Wisdom of Ben Sirach 19:6.

Repeat not to another what is told to you, and you shall never fare the worse. ~ Wisdom of Ben Sirach 19:7.

Whether it be to friend or foe, do not talk of other men's lives. ~ Wisdom of Ben Sirach 19:8.

If you have heard a word [gossip], let it die with you. ~ Wisdom of Ben Sirach 19:10.

Many have fallen by the edge of the sword: but not so many as have fallen by the tongue. ~ Wisdom of Ben Sirach 28:18.

Weigh your words in a balance, and make a door and bar for your mouth. ~ Wisdom of Ben Sirach 28:25

Top ↑

Edna Miriam Lister
1884 –1971
The original Pioneering Mystic
minister, teacher, and author

Edna Lister

Etymology of gossip: Late Old English godsibb, 'godfather, godmother, baptismal sponsor', literally 'a person related to one in God', from god 'God' + sibb 'a relative' (see sib). In Middle English the sense was 'a close friend, a person with whom one gossips', hence 'a person who gossips', later (early 19th century) 'idle talk' (from the verb, which dates from the early 17th century).

Gossip is a soul taint.

Gossip is a sin.


Every tale is not to be believed. ~ Aesop, The Thief and the Innkeeper


Aesop. "The Thief and the Innkeeper," Three Hundred Aesop's Fables. George Townsend, translator. London: Routledge and Sons, 187?, 126.

The Compact Edition of The Oxford English Dictionary: 2 volumes. E.S.C. Weiner, editor. Oxford University Press, 1971.

The Holy Bible. King James Version (KJV).

The Nag Hammadi Library. James M. Robinson, editor. San Francisco: Harper and Row, 1981. San Francisco, Harper & Row, 1981.

Related Topics

See Idle Words

Search Our Site