(Proverbs 25:23 KJV) The north wind driveth away rain: so doth an angry countenance a backbiting tongue.
How do we know if something we say is gossipy or, as it says here, “backbiting” (5643a)? Sometimes when we ask that question is it just a way of trying to deflect the truth. We know we are gossiping. We know we are talking behind people’s backs.
For those times when we wonder, the literal reading here gives some direction. The marginal reading is “tongues of secrecy.” That is pretty good. The word has the idea of covered, sheltered and hidden. So a good question to ask ourselves when in doubt is, “Will this stand the light of day?” I sometimes will stop and ask myself, “Would I say this if the person were standing right here listening to me?”
Would I? Would you?
So? It is too easy to fall into backbiting. When you read lists of major sins note that gossip is often listed with the most heinous. Stop and think before you speak. You may think you are speaking in private but remember that God doesn’t need cameras and microphones to know what is coming out of your heart.