I thought someone I've known since childhood was a real friend, but then I found out she was gossiping about me behind my back, and it's hurt me very much. Should I tell her I know that she's been lying about me, or should I just drop her and not say anything? — Mrs. D.L.
You have put your finger on two of the main reasons why gossiping is wrong: It usually distorts the truth, and it almost always hurts someone else. The Bible says, "A perverse man stirs up dissension, and a gossip separates close friends" (Proverbs 16:28).
This is why gossiping is so serious in God's eyes and why we should avoid it at all costs, even when it seems innocent or harmless. Paul said of one group of Christians who had forgotten Christ's command to love, "I fear that there may be (among you) quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, factions, slander, gossip, arrogance and disorder" (2 Corinthians 12:20). Gossip is like a hidden cancer that can cause all kinds of problems, and its harvest can be very poisonous.
Although it may not be easy, I would encourage you to confront this person with what she has done—not harshly or in anger, but out of a desire to help her. She needs to realize what she has done, and she needs to realize also the hurt she's caused because of her gossiping. Then ask God to help you forgive her and put this incident behind you.
In addition, ask God to help you learn from your friend's wrongdoing. Avoid gossip in your own life, and make it your goal to live for Christ and to follow Him in all you do and say.