We all (should) know that God does not approve of gossip and that we should not participate in it – whether as the one who spreads it or the one who listens to it. However, knowing and doing are two different things – so for those who choose to disobey God and to continue engaging in gossip, here’s a little piece of advice that may help you from causing harm to yourself, to your loved ones, and to your subjects of gossip: don’t believe anything you are told about someone if it is negative unless you hear it from two or more witnesses. And remember, a witness is not someone who heard the same thing that you did. A witness is someone who has first-hand knowledge of the subject. If our courts are smart enough to dismiss testimony that is hearsay, you should also dismiss it.
Having two or more witnesses is also a biblical concept – not just my personal philosophy:
Deuteronomy 19:15 One witness shall not rise up against a man for any iniquity, or for any sin, in any sin that he sinneth: at the mouth of two witnesses, or at the mouth of three witnesses, shall the matter be established.
Matthew 18:15-17 Moreover if thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone: if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother. 16 But if he will not hear thee, then take with thee one or two more, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established. 17 And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell it unto the church: but if he neglect to hear the church, let him be unto thee as an heathen man and a publican.
2 Corinthians 13:1 This is the third time I am coming to you. In the mouth of two or three witnesses shall every word be established.
1 Timothy 5:19 Against an elder receive not an accusation, but before two or three witnesses.
So please, please, please, I beseech you: before you cause any more strife for my family, my church, or me, think biblically and dismiss anything that is not confirmed by two or more eyewitnesses.