My friend Debbie asked me to write a blog about gossip. When I told Dennis, he said, “Shake that tree” (I didn’t know what that meant….Dennis says a lot of things I do not understand).
Websters defines gossip as, “a rumor or report of an intimate nature”. I sometimes makeup my own definitions to things in order to justify my actions. I have always defined gossip as “sharing information in a malicious manner”….you know, being catty. That isn’t to say that I haven’t shared information that was catty or hurtful, in general, that is crossing the line for me. What comes to mind is:
Hatred stirs up strife, But love covers all sins.
He who covers a transgression seeks love, But he who repeats a matter separates friends.
That’s the measuring stick…is what you are saying going to stir up strife or separate friends? If so, probably not a good thing to repeat.
There are two things I have recently been thinking about when it comes to gossip (yes, I have been thinking about something along those lines)… 1. Is it gossip when you are seeking counsel on a topic concerning someone you both know? 2. Is it gossip when you vent to a friend?
So on the first subject, I have been seeing it from both sides. On one hand, we sometimes need to ask for advise. On the other hand, we do not always have to name names. And what about if you are the person being asked for advise? We have all had some drama in our lives. In one situation, a leader came to us and advised us about something that a third-party discussed with them concerning our situation. My thoughts were….1. Why didn’t the person just come to us? 2. Why didn’t the leader advise the person to just come to us? 3. How often are these people discussing us behind our backs?
So many issues do not have to become issues if we just follow this simple instruction:
Moreover if your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault between you and him alone. If he hears you, you have gained your brother.
First pray and ask God for wisdom. And then go to the person who offended you and talk to them. Be NICE. Or as the older lady in my Bible Study said, “Be yourself, only nice”. Be humble not lording over the individual….do not pretend to be humble if you aren’t, because the individual will know and what you have to say will be unlikely to be heard. Try to see both sides. Do not make it an “Me against you” situation. Most things can be discussed in a neutral way. If you cannot not be neutral and remain neutral, then prepare yourself for war, because that is what you will be setting yourself up for…plus, the “I am ‘right’ and you are ‘wrong'” mentality is arrogant and unlikely to be received by anyone.
The second thought…is it gossip when you vent? I struggle with this…I am a venter. There I said it. When I am frustrated or I feel something is not just or fair, I vent. Usually, Dennis is the one who hears about it but sometimes I talk to my friend Suzy or my sisters. Several months ago, some friends were venting to us about some people we didn’t even know. Dennis is pretty good about listening and not jumping on the bandwagon. But me…they are my friends and I am loyal to them so I think the people they are telling us about are terrible. Then I actually met the people and heard their side (interestingly, all of this was unsolicited) and thought “wow, people really have different perceptions about events.” Yep, who knew? Perception is not TRUTH. This situation has made me rethink my own venting. Does my family and friend make a judgement based on my venting? Probably.
The best venting is still to vent to God.
So stop gossipping whether malitious or otherwise….