“Don’t pass on malicious gossip.” Exodus 23:1
What is classified as gossip? Wikipedia defines it as “idle talk or rumor, especially about the personal or private affairs of others.” The problem is that it is sometimes hard to discern when the conversation is out of caring for someone’s special situation or sharing sensationalism with another person.
I left my home town forty-eight years ago, and since that time, I have resided in several states, large and small communities, and most of my involvement with people has been in the churches I’ve attended. So gossip wasn’t an issue. However, on one occasion, while working for a large church, the staff was asked to pray about a sensitive situation involving a family who were former members. In my poor discerning skills, I made a comment to a person in the church who had been extremely close to the family, and it backfired. She put me in my place when she said, “I would know if this were true.” Unfortunately, she had not yet heard the facts and was devastated to learn it from a gossiper.
Will Rogers once said, “Live in such a way that you would not be ashamed to sell your parrot to the town gossip.” Our internal parrot is the ability to discern the difference between the appropriate sharing of a concern and sharing information you wouldn’t say directly to the person of subject. Gossip can kill a relationship and offends God.
Lord, help us seal our lips before spreading malicious gossip. Amen.