The term "backbiting" refers to a form of
slander that is made against someone, not to their face, but "behind their
James 4:11-12 Do not speak evil against one another, brothers. The one who speaks against a brother or judges his brother, speaks evil against the law and judges the law. But if you judge the law, you are not a doer of the law but a judge. There is only one lawgiver and judge, he who is able to save and to destroy. But who are you to judge your neighbor?
If anyone thinks he is religious and does not bridle his tongue but
deceives his heart, this person's religion is worthless.
For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.”
True Christians are not "backbiters" because true Christians are not liars ("Thou shalt not bear false witness"), and if they ever rightfully have a problem with a fellow Christian, Jesus Christ instructed how it was to be dealt with in an open and honest way:
"Moreover if thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone: if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother. But if he will not hear thee, then take with thee one or two more, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established. And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell it unto the church: but if he neglect to hear the church, let him be unto thee as a heathen man and a publican." (Matthew 18:15-17 KJV)
"Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things"
King David referred to "backbiting" by means of the Hebrew word, pronounced raw-gal, which means to go about spying i.e. a tattler. David asked, "Who shall dwell in Thy holy hill" in speaking of the Kingdom of God. The answer? Those who are not backbiters (he that "speaketh the truth in his heart" and "he that backbiteth not with his tongue") will be in the Kingdom of God.
He that walketh uprightly, and worketh righteousness, and speaketh the truth in his heart. He that backbiteth not with his tongue, nor doeth evil to his neighbour, nor taketh up a reproach against his neighbour." (Psalm 15:1-3 KJV)
Paul warned against "backbitings" in the true Church of God because it causes division and falling away if not repented of. backbiting in the verse quote above is also used to refer to one of the bitter fruits of apostasy i.e. "as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind":
"And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient; Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers, Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, Without understanding, covenantbreakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful: Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them" (Romans 1:28-32 KJV)
Have you ever talked to somebody who began telling you ugly things about another person, that you know that other person wouldn't want anyone to say about them? And did you find yourself thinking, “I wonder what this person says about me when
I’m not around? I’m sure glad she’s not my friend – with a friend like that, who needs enemies?” A person who talks unkindly or speaks evil about an absent person is called a backbiter
A backbiter knowingly or maliciously makes accusations to put down another person and hurt their reputation in the eyes of the listener. In Psalm 15, David asked, “Lord, who shall abide (live forever) in your temple? Who shall dwell in your holy sanctuary?” The Lord answered and told David, “It will be he who walks and lives uprightly and blamelessly, and speaks and thinks truth in his heart. He who does not backbite with his tongue; or be a tale-bearer (tattle-tale); and does not bring disgrace or shame against his neighbor.”
A neighbor is someone living near you – for a short time or an extended period. Paul, the apostle, told the Christians in Galatia that to have true liberty they must serve one another in love, “For all the law is fulfilled in one word, and that is this; You shall love your neighbor as yourself. But, if you bite and devour one another, be careful that you don’t be destroyed by each other.”(Galatians 5:14,15)
Backbiting destroys unity. Unity is a requirement in the Body of Christ, of which you are a part, just as it is a requirement in our own body for it to keep working right. Every part must be in unity with every other part. Unity can only happen through love and taking care of every part to nourish it and build it up.