A gossip betrays a confidence, but a trustworthy person keeps a secret. -Proverbs 11:13
Gossip is wrong. We know that, right?
Mean people spread mean gossip; their words smart and burn. (MSG)
What have I done to this person? Do I even know this person? I actually know this person. I thought that we were friends." ...or so many other things.
...so if someone had a problem with you, why did you hear the gossip from someone else?
More directly, why did they gossip in the first place? Do people think about the results of their gossip? Do people intend to hurt others? Sometimes, possibly, they do.
"They sharpen their tongues like swords and aim cruel words like deadly arrows. They shoot from ambush at the innocent; they shoot suddenly, without fear." -Psalm 64:3-4
Oftentimes, I would suspect that people do not think of the results of their actions.
People gossip to feel superior. People gossip to try to impress others by being the person to have "the dirt." People gossip out of jealousy. People gossip for attention.
One of the damaging things about gossip is that it is often untrue or based on other gossip. You remember playing the telephone game when you were younger, right? One person would start by whispering something in someone's ear, and then they would whisper is in the next persons ear, and so on and so on until the last person would say it out loud. Usually, what the last person said out loud was not what the original person said.
Gossip is much like that.
When the message gets to you, what do you do with it? Do you continue to talk about people behind their backs? Do you even bother to find out the facts, or do you continue to spread the gossip?
...OR do you nip it in the bud and say, "I do not want to hear that gossip. If you have an issue with that person, then you need to go talk with them directly."
"The words of the reckless pierce like swords, but the tongue of the wise brings healing." -Proverbs 12:18
We can be cruel, hurtful, catty gossipers, or we can be the positive example and treat those around us with respect. Which is the kind of person that you would rather be?