Thursday, October 17, 2013
Gossiping. We all know that it's wrong yet we all still do it. Yes, that's right. I said all of us. Every body gossips or has gossiped at some point in their lives. Sometimes it happens accidentally or unconsciously but it still happens.
It is so easy to be pulled into gossip. You may not be a compulsive gossiper; you may not even like gossip, but somewhere along the line somebody comes to you with a juicy story that you just can't help listening to. It may even appear that you are discussing the story out of concern for the individual in question. However, at the end of the day, it's still gossip.
Dictionary.com defines gossip as idle talk or rumor, especially about the personal or private affairs of others. We can all agree that we've all done that, right?
So what makes gossiping so dangerous? Let's see, here are a few reasons.
1. A lot of the time the things we gossip about simply aren't true. We can do a lot of damage to someone's character, family life, careers etc with idle talk. We even justify our gossiping by saying where there is smoke there must be fire, but have you ever come across a situation where there isn't even an ounce of truth in a story that you've heard?
2. Gossiping can lead someone to depression. The worst possible feeling you can have is knowing that you are being talked about but not knowing what is being said. Maybe people have gone into states of depression because of this. Others have committed suicide. It's easy to say that people should keep their heads up and ignore gossip about themselves, but let's be honest. Some people aren't very strong and we destroy them with our idle words. We are like bullies preying on the weak. You never really know what people are going through behind closed doors and your idle talk may just be the thing that pushes them over the edge.
3. It's just plain wrong. I clicked through one of my bible apps and just did a search for the word gossip in the NLT version. Even I was astounded by the number of results. Here are just a few.
A troublemaker plants seeds of strife; gossip separates the best of friends.
Wrongdoers eagerly listen to gossip; liars pay close attention to slander.
A gossip goes around telling secrets, so don't hang around with chatterers.
As surely as a north wind brings rain, so a gossiping tongue causes anger!
Fire goes out without wood, and quarrels disappear when gossip stops.
Psalm 15:1,3 (I advise that you read the whole chapter)
1 Who may worship in your sanctuary Lord? Who may enter your presence on your holy hill?
3 Those who refuse to gossip or harm their neighbours or speak evil of their friends.
So how do we avoid Gossiping? I said earlier that most of us do it unconsciously but there are ways to recognise gossip and nip it in the bud.
1. Are you talking to a third party about somebody else's business? That's gossip, so stop.
2. Are you really sure that you are doing this so that you can help that individual? If so, what is your plan for helping. If you have none then stop talking. It's not your business.
3. We all have friends who are just dying to know the latest developments in some body else's life. The unfortunate thing is that we often come across information because people confide in us. So let us learn to keep things that are confidential to ourselves. Don't even tell your other best friend. It's how gossip starts in the first place. When asked, simply say "I was told in confidence" and leave it there. Eventually your friends will learn that they shouldn't even bother to ask you about some body else's business. These two verses of scripture bring out this point clearly.
A gossip goes around telling secrets, but those who are trustworthy can keep a confidence.
Others may accuse you of gossip, and you will never regain your good reputation.
I hope these tips can help us become more aware of gossip and how easily we can fall into the trap. As with all things, awareness is the first step towards resolution.