"We hear that some among you are idle. They are not busy; they are busybodies" (2 Thessalonians 3:11).
Martin Luther had much to say about gossip and its terrible byproducts. Luther pointed out that when we gossip we are doing Satan's chores for him. He related an incident of a couple so happily married that it was the talk of the town. The devil couldn't cause disharmony between them, but he finally hit upon the trick: he sent an old hag to the wife to tell her that her husband was having an affair with another woman and he planned to kill her. The hag told her that she would find a knife under her husband's pillow. She then hurriedly went to the husband with the same terrible tale. Unfortunately for the wife, the husband found her knife first, and that was the end of the town's happiest marriage.
There are several vital lessons here: malicious tongues kill; Satan is behind the vicious tongue; trust your partner; and, above all, check your sources.
Gossip is verbal interest in the failings of others rather than their feelings. Our own faults should keep us busy enough praying to a forgiving and forgetting Father and offering prayers of thanksgiving that He so willingly overlooks our own many malpractices of tongue.
Pascal shares this verity: "I take it as a matter not to be disputed, that if all knew what each said of the other, there would not be four friends in the world. This seems proved by the quarrels and disputes caused by the disclosures which are occasionally made." The busybodies are parasites who go about stinging the innocent with veiled but spiteful venom. Let us beware of the one who is busy with everyone else's business. Paul gives excellent advice to Timothy: "Turn away from godless chatter and the opposing ideas of what is falsely called knowledge..." (1 Timothy 6:20).
One last thought: the word “busybodies” denotes busy in useless and superfluous things, trifles. Instead of occupying ourselves with our duties, we busy ourselves about matters which are fruitless and we become useless branches cut off from the Vine.