Gossip is not always untrue nor is it necessarily spoken with intent to harm but it is always thoughtless, careless and unkind. Slander is false and malicious, spoken with the intention of causing harm. Slander and gossip are irresponsible, negligent and harmful.
Jms. 4:11-12 “Brothers, do not slander one another. Anyone who speaks against his brother or judges him speaks against the law and judges it. When you judge the law, you are not keeping it, but sitting in judgment on it. There is only one Lawgiver and Judge, the one who is able to save and destroy. But you – who are you to judge your neighbor?”
When we slander another we take it upon ourselves to conduct the trial, find him guilty and deliver the condemning punishment. We are so far out of place as to be sitting in judgment on the law of God, as though it is incapable of handling this situation and our words are needed to put the situation in the proper light. When tempted to speak ill of someone I am to remember there is One Lawgiver and Judge, One who is able to save and to destroy – and it most certainly is not me! I am not to presume to condemn another human being.
However, I do have a responsibility to discern between good and evil, right and wrong, according to what is clearly stated in God’s Word. Love for another person, combined with that responsibility of discernment, will bring me to implement appropriate exhortation, to confront wrongdoing in hopes of encouraging improved behavior. That is not judging, nor is it condemnation. To have hope of effectiveness it must be done in genuine love, within the context of relationship.