Gossip is one of the most dangerous sins because it is so subtle and ambiguous -- many are unable to recognize it. Be on alert against gossip whenever you hear of “secret information” being circulated, or if you hear anyone else’s name is used in a conversation. Gossip exists whenever persons “talk about others” in less than a favorable way. The root of gossip is negativeness, judgementalism, slander, etc. Avoid associating with people who gossip “A gossip betrays a confidence; so avoid a man who talks too much” (Prov. 20:19). You probably remember the old saying: “If you can’t say something good about others, don’t say anything at all.” Wise advice if you wish to avoid sin.
Gossip often masquerades as “concern” for others. Rumors or gossip will seem more palatable if they first hide behind a pretentious expression of concern. “I hate to say anything about this to you, but I’m ’concerned’ about so and so.” At other times the gossiper will seek you out as their “confidante” to unload their “heavy heart” about their concerns. “I’m very troubled about so and so and I don’t know who else to talk to about it.” In reality, the gossip is not sincerely concerned about solving the problem, only in talking about it -- stirring it up. “A perverse man stirs up dissension, and a gossip separates close friends” (Prov. 16:28). A gossip thrives on the negative, the controversial, and the sensational. Any person who is genuinely concerned about solving a problem, will go and privately confront the person at the source and express their concern. Or else they should go privately to the pastor so he will do it.
The gossip is like a spider looking for a prey to lure into their trap of gossiping. They may confide to you secrets or their private concerns about other people. Perhaps in consolement, you may express your half-hearted agreement with their concerns, or you may even be enticed to confide your secret concerns to them. Consequently, the gossip will eventually repeat the process with someone else -- but next time, they will add your name as an endorsement of their private “issue,” and will eventually even disclose the secrets you shared to them. And on and on it goes.
There are times when people need to confide their own problems with a friend in the Lord. But avoid revealing anything to a person who gossips -- they can’t be trusted. “A gossip betrays a confidence, but a trustworthy man keeps a secret” (Prov. 11:13).
Taken from here