If we try to define ‘gossip verses venting’ we are taking the legalistic approach by which the Jews failed. Applying ‘rules’ to a ‘principle’ does not work. In making up 'rules', we are inventing loopholes to justify our poor behaviour.
We know what the problem is:
James 1:26 If any man among you seem to be religious, and bridleth not his tongue, but deceiveth his own heart, this man’s religion is vain.
James 3:2-18 For in many things we offend all. If any man offend not in word, the same is a perfect man, and able also to bridle the whole body. 3 Behold, we put bits in the horses’ mouths, that they may obey us; and we turn about their whole body. 4 Behold also the ships, which though they be so great, and are driven of fierce winds, yet are they turned about with a very small helm, whithersoever the governor listeth. 5 Even so the tongue is a little member, and boasteth great things. Behold, how great a matter a little fire kindleth! 6 And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity: so is the tongue among our members, that it defileth the whole body, and setteth on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire of hell (gehenna). 7 For every kind of beasts, and of birds, and of serpents, and of things in the sea, is tamed, and hath been tamed of mankind: 8 But the tongue can no man tame; it is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison. 9 Therewith bless we God, even the Father; and therewith curse we men, which are made after the similitude of God. 10 Out of the same mouth proceedeth blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not so to be. 11 Doth a fountain send forth at the same place sweet water and bitter? 12 Can the fig tree, my brethren, bear olive berries? either a vine, figs? so can no fountain both yield salt water and fresh. 13 Who is a wise man and endued with knowledge among you? let him shew out of a good conversation (conduct) his works with meekness of wisdom. 14 But if ye have bitter envying and strife in your hearts, glory not, and lie not against the truth. 15 This wisdom descendeth not from above, but is earthly, sensual, devilish. 16 For where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work. 17 But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy. 18 And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace of them that make peace.
We fail because we speak without sufficient forethought. ‘The tongue can no man tame’ is a true statement.
We are to love even our enemies,
Matthew 5:44 But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;
We are to do good unto all.
Galatians 6:10 As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith.
We are to speak evil of none.
Titus 3:2 ...speak evil of no man, to be no brawlers, but gentle, shewing all meekness unto all men.
Colossians 4:6 Let your speech be alway with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man.
What we say must be measured by the principle of love.
The criteria for ‘gossip’ or ‘venting’; or indeed any kind of conversation; must be, "Does what we say stem from love for the person we are speaking of? Or does it stem from a love of ourselves?"
We speak what is in our ‘heart’.
Luke 6:45 A good man out of the good treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is evil: for of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaketh.
If we refuse to ‘think’ evil of others we will not speak evil.
1 Corinthians 13:5 (Love) Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil;
Knowing our own weakness we should heed the words of Solomon concerning those that speak ill of us.
Ecclesiastes 7:21 Also take no heed unto all words that are spoken; lest thou hear thy servant curse thee: 22 For oftentimes also thine own heart knoweth that thou thyself likewise hast cursed others.
I hope you have found this helpful.
God bless you,