When I think of the word gossip I think of Rachel Lynde from Anne of Green Gables.
She constantly snooped, made judgments, and then scattered her version of the “news” to other people around the town of Avonlea by flapping her unstoppable gums.
But hear what it says in Proverbs 17:4 (NLT): “Wrongdoers eagerly listen to gossip; liars pay close attention to slander.”
In other words, it’s also wrong to “listen” to gossip, and to “pay attention” to slander. We perpetuate gossip not just by speaking half-truths about other people, but by going along with it in silence.
Maybe we sometimes go along with it because, on some deep unhealthy level, we want to believe the worst about someone. Or maybe we just enjoy snacking on someone else’s dirt.
And there are other times, when we’re thinking more clearly, when we know we don’t like it, but simply don’t know what to do.
Sometimes breaking the cycle is as simple as saying, “You know, I’m not sure that’s the whole story,” or, “Well, it sounds like a tough situation we should pray about.” That can send the signal that unfounded negativity isn’t welcome.
“Wrongdoers eagerly listen to gossip; liars pay close attention to slander.”
By Matthew Ruttan