What is the difference between getting advice from others, and gossip.
Advice is an opinion given about what to do or how to behave. Gossip is casual talk about someone else’s behaviors or affairs. The difference is easily understood by adding up the numbers.
When a person truly desires to help another person in their affairs or with a behavior, they will only talk about the matter with one person. It is a serious talk loaded with concern. Generally that one person is more mature or wise and has proven they can keep even the smallest personal matters secret. This one person is often one in authority, like a parent or a minister.
Gossip on the other hand is considered the domain of fools:
“Hate is covered up by the lips of the upright man, but he who lets out evil about another is foolish” (Prov. 10:18).
This type of behaviour kills friendships and relationships. It is often discussed with many people and the numbers grow quickly. Two become four, four become eight, 16 quickly become 32. Another’s problems are often discussed among peers who are eager to hear the latest about anyone’s bad behaviors or failures. The conversation has either an overtone of a put-down or joking. With gossip, no secret is kept silent. In fact, the real truths are often clouded over. No advice is given because no real advice is sought after.
Advice from the wise, when followed, often produces positive results. There are good fruits. But gossip, when it runs its course, hurts everyone—especially those who spread it!