Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Gossip

So if I come, I will call attention to what he is doing, gossiping maliciously about us. Not satisfied with that, he refuses to welcome the brothers. He also stops those who want to do so and puts them out of the church.~3 John 1:10

Have you ever been a target of gossip? I have. It hurts. It is when people feel the need the defame your character, create a story that incorporates half-truths or no truth what-so-ever to satisfy their own insecurities.  Usually these Gossips gather a following, a group of people who want to be on the "in" and that have insecurities of their own (that become obscured because everyone is focusing on the target of the spoken gossip).
 
It is somehow reassuring that others are not perfect, isn't it?  Those who you envy for whatever reason are somehow brought down and made to be imperfect by gossip...the thing is though, the Gossip - the person speaking the rumour - put the target on a pedestal to begin with.
 
Whoa! Did you catch that?
 
...the Gossip - the person speaking the rumour - put the target on a pedestal to begin with. 
 

Why do we gossip? Why do we not build others up instead? Why do we feel the need to slander others?
I would suggest one reason is fear.
We are afraid. The target of our gossip is someone in our own mind that we have determined we need to be afraid of. They threaten our concept of normal or our concept of security. They challenge the comfort of our existence and so we react to try to reclaim control over this disturbance.

Ironically, "gossip" had its original meaning in "godsibb" which is formed from "godparent," from God + sibb "relative".
Gossip hasn't always been considered a bad word. The word gossip first meant godparents or a familiar acquaintance and was used to describe someone who told of a family's news and developments. In Shakespeare's time, a gossip was also someone who sat with a woman through childbirth, perhaps to talk, offer comfort, or to help her pass the time.
Now it's defined as "rumour or talk of a personal, sensational, or intimate nature" or as "idle talk or rumour, esp. about the personal or private affairs of others." Someone who fits the stereotypical image of a gossip bears names like rumourmonger and blabbermouth. They're viewed as busybodies, as nosy and meddlesome. Somewhere down through history, the word's original meaning became tangled up in rumour-spreading and idle talk.

I was once told that when we gossip, it is like taking a feather pillow to the top of a tower and cutting the pillow open releasing all the feathers into the wind.  To return the feathers back to the pillow is impossible. It is a done deal - the damage has been done and cannot be taken back. So it is with gossip.
A person is hurt, relationships are damaged or cease to be. It is a tool of the devil that destroys many a person. Gossip can be the tipping point for some to that leads to death...literally. For others, their self-esteem is so damaged that they become a shadow of their former self...destroyed by words.  Without those who would speak God's truth and love into the lives of these damaged souls, we would find many who would be spending unnecessary time in a pit of darkness.

Do you hear what I am saying?

Words are powerful indeed.
For some, "They sharpen their tongues like swords and aim their words like deadly arrows."~Psalm 64:3 "They make their tongues as sharp as a serpent's; the poison of vipers is on their lips."~Psalm 140:3
... for, "The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole person, sets the whole course of his life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell."~James 3:6
 
We are called, as Christians, to be peacemakers, encouragers, agents of reconciliation not destroyers.
Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God.~Matthew 5:9 Peacemakers who sow in peace raise a harvest of righteousness.~James 3:18

Consider:

Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. ~Ephesians 4:29-32


And remember:

A perverse man stirs up dissension, and a gossip separates close friends.~Proverbs 16:28

Don't be party to gossip. Stand and speak what is true and good.

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