20 Fire goes out without wood, and quarrels disappear when gossip stops.
22 Rumors are dainty morsels that sink deep into one’s heart.
If you’re one who follows the news, then you are probably aware of the tension that is rising with the conflicts between various countries. At times, it almost seems that if one more thing was to happen, a leader would snap and all out war would break out. The world is concerned, and rightly so, who wouldn’t be? However, while the vast majority of the world’s population feels helpless at being able to do anything to avert such a crisis, there are personal wars that rage across our world in homes, offices, factories, community groups and even in churches. The war I’m talking about is gossip.
Gossip is the act of spreading unverified information about someone to others. It’s generally idle talk about the private affairs of someone else who is not present to defend themselves.
I’m sure most of us have participated in it, listened in, and even been the subject of it at one time or another. On top of all that, we have magazines that are devoted to ‘celebrity gossip’, ‘entertainment’ shows on TV and on the internet who traffic in it. We are a gossipy culture.
If you’ve been reading along through the book of Proverbs, then you will have picked up that gossip cuts three ways.
First, gossip is a tantalizing tidbit that when it tickles our ears, there is a natural tendency to take it right into our very souls. There is just something so attractive about hearing third hand news about YOU! Somehow, when I hear this juicy tidbit about you, in a way, you have been diminished in my eyes, and the fact that I have this ‘dirt’ on you, makes me feel superior. When you think about it long and hard, gossip is actually quite insidious.
Now for the one who is passing on this little tidbit, understand that you have now taken part in bringing judgment on someone without any evidence. If our courts treated people in that manner, we would vote to toss the whole system out. Because who would want to live in a society where you can be judged without the necessary evidence?
And finally, for the one being gossiped about, it is tantamount to being betrayed and ostracized from the very people you thought you could trust. That’s the time when divisiveness enters, and loyalty vanishes. In essence, you have been marginalized…the very thing that God hates.
The wise person recognizes gossip for what it is, and rather than following the crowd and getting caught up in the tantalizing chatter, they douse the ‘fire’ out. How? They refuse to participate, and when appropriate, they speak up. Douse that fire!
Note: I will not be blogging over the Easter holiday, but will resume on Monday. As you take some time to ponder the suffering, humiliation and death of Jesus, may it lead you to the empty tomb and the glorious joy that death and the grave have been defeated!
He is risen…He is risen, indeed\