Q: One of my so-called friends, R, ran his mouth and told this girl that I called her a—you know—which I did, ‘cause, well, she is…but anyways, what do I do about R? He’s a totally new person, in a bad way, and I can’t deal with it anymore.

Can I be honest with you, sis? Although I think it may be time to move on from your friendship with R (he doesn’t sound like a great friend), I’m more concerned with you. By definition, gossip is saying anything about a person that might make someone think less of him or her.  It honestly doesn’t matter if what you’re saying is true or not. If you called a girl a (ya, I know), that will make others think less of her, which means it’s gossip. And gossip is wrong. But don’t take my word for it. Let me share a few verses with you (from The Message Bible paraphrase):

Don’t spread gossip and rumors….I am GOD. (Leviticus 19:16)

Don’t talk out of both sides of your mouth; avoid careless banter, white lies, and gossip. (Proverbs 4:24)

A gadabout gossip can’t be trusted with a secret, but someone of integrity won’t violate a confidence. (Proverbs 11:13)

The gossip of bad people gets them in trouble; the conversation of good people keeps them out of it. (Proverbs 12:13)

Mean people spread mean gossip; their words smart and burn. (Proverbs 16:27)

Evil people relish malicious conversation; the ears of liars itch for dirty gossip. (Proverbs 17:4)

Listening to gossip is like eating cheap candy; do you really want junk like that in your belly? (Proverbs 18:8)

Don’t talk about your neighbors behind their backs–no slander or gossip, please. (Proverbs 24:28)

When you run out of wood, the fire goes out; when the gossip ends, the quarrel dies down. (Proverbs 26:20)

Now I’m not saying you’re a mean, bad, or evil person! But I love you, and because I love you I want you to be the BEST you that you can be! The surest way to attract great friends is to be a great friend. Since no one wants to be gossiped about, we shouldn’t talk bad about others either. So yes, I think that if R is going down a path that you don’t want to go down, absolutely stop hanging around him. First Corinthians 15:33 says, “Bad company corrupts good character.” Find friends who are going to make you kinder, stronger and smarter, and try your best to be that kind of friend to others.