A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”
God does not show partiality or favoritism (Deuteronomy 10:17; Acts 10:34; Romans 2:11; Ephesians 6:9), and neither should we. James 2:4 describes those who discriminate as “judges with evil thoughts.” Instead, we are to love our neighbors as ourselves (James 2:8). We should do our best to make people feel welcomed and loved. One of the ways many of us discriminate and not realize it is through gossip.
Gossip is incredibly damaging. All people whose reputation or relationships have been damaged through gossip would have no trouble identifying it for the evil that it is. God’s Word speaks plainly about gossip. It hurts others: “The words of a whisperer are like delicious morsels; they go down into the inner parts of the body” (Proverbs 18:8).
James, the half-brother of Christ, explains why gossip occurs: “For every kind of beast and bird, of reptile and sea creature, can be tamed and has been tamed by mankind, but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison” (James 3:7-8). Sadly, it seems that everyone eventually finds himself or herself the recipient of gossip and tempted to gossip about others. The tendency to gossip is part of human nature, and taming the tongue requires God’s help. When we gossip, we show contempt for others in a malicious way. In my belief, that is another way in which we discriminate because we gossip about something that is different about another person.
Jesus commands us to love one another as He loves us (John 13:34). If God is impartial and loves us with impartiality, then we need to love others with that same high standard. Jesus teaches in Matthew 25 that whatever we do to the least of His brothers, we do to Him. If we treat a person with contempt, we are mistreating a person created in God’s image; we are hurting somebody whom God loves and for whom Jesus died.
Gossip and discrimination, in varying forms and to various degrees, has been a plague on humanity for thousands of years, but it doesn’t make it right. Victims of racism, homophobia, prejudice, and discrimination need to forgive. Ephesians 4:32 declares, “Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.” Homophobes may not deserve your forgiveness, but we deserved God’s forgiveness far less. Those who practice racism, homophobia, prejudice, and discrimination need to repent. “Present yourselves to God as being alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God” (Romans 6:13). May Galatians 3:28 be completely realized, “There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.”