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Gossip – 2018-02-08

One Definition of Gossip – casual or unconstrained conversation or reports about other people, typically involving details that are not confirmed as being true.
Definition of talebearer : one that spreads gossip or rumors; also : tattletale (Mirriam-Webster)

Gossip is a bitter fruit. Most of us have been the victim of gossip, and yet most of us have participated in it in some form at some point. It is a fruit that is better walked away from – what seems so sweet at the moment, is actually poison to hearts and spreads poison faster than the flu to those with whom we share… yet we can be drawn like moths to a light… which is actually a good example since light sucks the life out of moths… truly a fatal attraction.

Sometimes we share with friends – vent – only to have our business spread around as though it was their business to share all our personal information. Or, It’s not unusual to share with someone and they take that as permission to insert themselves in the middle of a situation that can be easier resolved without outside interference. If the sharer does not specifically ask for help, they are just looking for understanding and a kind heart as they sort through the situation – not usually advice, not interference, and not violation of the confidentiality just shared.

I remember a seminar session I took once that talked about gossip. The speaker noted that when someone shares with an unfaithful friend, then their confidentiality is exaggerated and violated; then the next person exaggerates and violates the confidence again, and on and on it goes, until the story doesn’t even closely resemble the actual event.

Gossip does not seek to resolve a situation, but is self-serving and creates a deeper division among friends. When the two people (who may not even know the level of exaggeration and gossip that has occured) resolve their differences; the gossip-mongers are still keeping it alive… they do not go back and admit their exaggeration or let the parties they shared with know that the disagreement was resolved and all is well.

Sometimes even good things are not good to share – it can feel like stealing someone else’s spotlight. Their new is theirs to share.

It is easy to try to make yourself look better by putting someone else down. But it really doesn’t FEEL better. This is not love in action: it is hurtful. I find that when I fall into the gossip trap, it is usually an indication that my OWN life is not focused where it should be – on resolving my own issues… or maybe I am unhappy with something in my life that I need to address. It feels easier to focus on what others are doing wrong that what I am doing wrong… it can be so hard to face my problems and work through them. I also notice that when my life is going well, I am not worried about what is going on with other people’s lives, I am focused on living life well.

That listening ear… that understanding heart… that faithful friend, who holds a friend’s confidence like the treasure that it is… that is loving like Jesus Oh, our wonderful Counselor – That is my focus – to be, to love like Jesus

And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Isaiah 41

Deeper Still:

A fool’s mouth is his destruction,
And his lips are the snare of his soul.
8 The words of a talebearer are like tasty trifles,
And they go down into the inmost body. Proverbs 18:7-8

An ungodly man digs up evil,
And it is on his lips like a burning fire.
28 A perverse man sows strife,
And a whisperer separates the best of friends. Proverbs 16:27-28

He who is devoid of wisdom despises his neighbor,
But a man of understanding holds his peace.
13 A talebearer reveals secrets,
But he who is of a faithful spirit conceals a matter. Proverbs 11:12-13