Saturday, September 30, 2006

Gossip



Well, I can hardly close out my series on the tongue without addressing gossip, can I?

L.L. Barkat shared an excellent story this week at her blog, Seedlings in Stone. I am printing this part of the post in entirety, instead of just linking, because you must read it. But please check out the blog. It's short, clean, and wise.
I was reminded that such "small" talk is insidious, with this story from Judith Kunst's The Burning Word...

A man who had slandered a rabbi went to repent and repair the damage. "'What must I do to repair my sin?' he asked. The rabbi instructed him to get a pillow, rip it open and spread its feathers on the wind, and then return to him. The man quickly did as he was told. Upon his return, the rabbi said, 'There is one task remaining: go find and collect all the feathers, and bring them to me.' The man gasped, 'That's impossible!' And the rabbi replied, 'Yes. It is as impossible for you to re-gather those feathers as it is for you to repair the harm that your slander has worked on me...'" (pp. 116-117)
excerpt from Seedlings in Stone
Honestly, it is not a topic that I feel qualified to teach on, being mired right in the middle of it oftentimes. What I would like to do is to share a bit of what God's word has to say on the topic:

You speak continually against your brother and slander your own mother's son. Psalms 50:20

You love every harmful word, O you deceitful tongue! Psalms 52:4

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

Without wood a fire goes out; without gossip a quarrel dies down. Proverbs 26:20

Besides, they get into the habit of being idle and going about from house to house. And not only do they become idlers, but also gossips and busybodies, saying things they ought not to.
I Timothy 5:13

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Personal updates: I've been okay with my Poison Tongue this month, especially involving using a nice tone over a harsh one, and not saying things that probably just shouldn't be said.

But gossip. . . . I really need to pray for conviction to be able to discuss valid issues with my husband or with others who are involved in a troubling situation, without falling into gossip. Prayer is the key in being convicted about a wrong before it comes out, or stopping it in its tracks. There are many ways I've heard to determine information from gossip: Would you say the same thing in front of that person? Is what you are saying true? I'm quite sure that some things that fall in the second category, and perhaps the first, still need not be said at all. Talking (gossiping) about something gives just gives further weight to it.

How have you experienced gossip, either from you or about you? How do you avoid speaking or listening to gossip? Did any of these verses speak personally to you? If you have thoughts about this topic, or any of your experiences with the tongue, link up. Those who linked last week are still up (as they will be for the whole month). If you address this issue again this week, you can link more than once. Feel free to use the banner, and please link back here or to the original Snapshots of Change post, which has an index of each topic covered.

3 comments:

Laura said...

Great post Jennifer! I find it not terribly hard to hold my tongue (most times) when it comes to initiating the gossiping, but find it a lot harder to keep from participating by at the very least listening and sometimes jumping right in, especially when it comes to my family. Good stuff to think on!!

Dianne said...

Convicting thoughts. Good thoughts. As always. Thanks for sharing your heart.

Katrina said...

Gossip is tough. Like Laura, I think I usually do okay at not starting it, but it's so easy to "join in." And what I should do, what the right thing to do, is to speak up and be the one to say, "You know, this isn't right, for us to be talking like this..." But I can only think of one or two times that I've had the courage to do so.