Gossip. We all do it or have done it. I’ll admit I was gossiping last week. If I’m honest I’ll say I did it just yesterday. It’s so common at times, we (me included) don’t even know we’re gossiping or is it that we don’t want to acknowledge it? Everyone knows if you never call a spade a spade it can very well be a diamond…at least until Captain Obvious enters the room.
A script I am currently working on delves into the life of a gossip columnist working her way up the ladder of success at the expense of the rich and famous. Lately though, she’s set her actions on one pop princess in particular. As she attempts to tear down her chaste image by revealing her shortcomings, she learns a valuable lesson about gossip and how it affects not just the person being slandered but those around that person as well…including herself. I decided to do a little research on what gossip really is to drive home the point of the film. What I found was quite shocking and convicting.
- It’s not gossip if it’s true – FALSE. Gossip is giving true or false details about a person’s private life. The tricky thing about this is the facts are sometimes never confirmed or are based on assumptions. It’s easy during the spreading of gossip for details to be exaggerated, left out or added in for the sake of shock value.
- It’s not gossip if I’m sharing to solicit prayers – FALSE. Now as a Christian woman this can be hard sometimes. After all, we’re only sharing this person’s private information because they need all the prayer they can get. Heaven knows it’s harder to pray for people when we don’t know all the details. Fortunately, I can’t remember a time when I went to God on someone else’s behalf and He asked for a run-down of the situation prior to me praying. The Bible says in Romans 8:26 that the Holy Spirit intercedes for us when we don’t know what to pray for ourselves. How much more will He intercede for others when we don’t know what to pray for them? Dare I say #youtriedit.
- It’s not gossip if it’s venting– FALSE. One reason people gossip or listen to gossip is to feel better about themselves and superior to others. Everybody needs a vent session every now and again, but check your motives. If it’s purely to be seen as a martyr or the “bigger person” then it’s still gossip and still wrong.
- It ruins relationships – TRUE. Not only does gossip have the potential of ruining the lives of the person it’s aimed towards, it can also ruin the reputation of the gossiper and the listeners. Proverbs 11:13 says a gossip betrays confidence, but a trustworthy person keeps a secret. If your friends are spreading gossip about others, please believe they are spreading gossip about you, too.
So how do we stop gossip? I’m glad you asked.
- Don’t do it. Consider how you would feel if the gossip was about you.
- When you find yourself in a situation where gossip has begun, say something kind about the person who the gossip is about and keep saying kind things until the gossiper and listners get the hint.
- Call the gossiper out on whether or not what they’re saying is true.
- Lead the person gossiping in prayer for the person they’re gossiping about. Remember, this doesn’t mean you have to know all the facts. Stop them as soon as you realize it’s gossip and offer to pray.
- Walk away—a gossip can’t gossip if nobody is listening.
While we can’t stop all gossip, we can be sure of one thing—we don’t have to be a participant.