Gossip, according to most people, is an ugly word made up of lies, half-truths, rumours and private and intimate affairs. It can be traced back to the anglo-saxon times to words that meant ‘God’ and ‘kin’, which is contrary to what most people think. Gossip can be positive if you’re sharing information that is not necessarily negative, but the problem is that it usually quickly turns negative commonly known to many as the ‘inside scoop’.
Let me call it informative discussion. It is synonymous with small, light, informal conversations for any social occasion. There is actually no way people can live without discussing the what, how, when, why and whom of others. It is normally depicted as a person given secret information and who divulges it to others. I will equate it to rumors especially when they are untrue. We have the signs of people engaging their noses deeply into other people’s business. There are the knowing looks, nudges, winks, furtive glances and for those who have not brushed up on the skill, hands partially covering mouth.
Gossip is everywhere and is inevitable just like change. Its in schools, workplaces, church, cities and around our homes. There are celebrity gossip, wrestling gossip, Barbie gossip even E-gossip. Gossip is entertainment for most people, but for those being gossiped about, its detrimental, negative and damaging to their lives.
Gossip is basically lies, lies and more lies. It always starts with people having tid bits of information about a person they know or don’t know, and they take that information and build a new story around it in their heads. Then they tell their friends who spurn it with even more false information. So by the time it reaches ears of the supposed person; it’s another level.
Gossip gets carried away because talking about other people’s crazy made up lives is sometimes more fun than talking about reality. Real life is crazy enough without having people make stuff up about you & vice versa. There has to be a better way for people to socialize without making up lies. There is nothing worse than a little ‘harmless gossip’.
Most people will deny that they are gossiping and dress it up as “fact”. Apparently, we have one special category of people that are the most dangerous, the all “perfect” kind. These are the people who you’ll never find a hair out of place, always have a good word for everyone and everything they encounter, your confident, friend etc. woe unto you when that friendship reaches it end, they will make you grovel and dig deeper and regurgitate all the stored up information at very unexpected moments. Before you tell your tales to them, scratch just a little beneath the surface and its quickly apparent that underneath all that gloss is one hideous mask..
However, even as we tell our idle little stories and indulge in half-truths about others, we must try to draw the line at the hurtful malicious stuff that can destroy reputations. There are actually three stains of gossips, one; the innoculous chitchat about the weather, schools, churches etc and its an easy descent to number two; a more personal level about people, family, friends moods, character & personality. This kind of rumour, though not vindictive becomes the basis for judgements of character and so often grows with re-telling to the intimate and private problems of others.
Lastly and thirdly; slander, no wonder apostle paul, censored those who “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 busy bodies saying things they ought not to” (1 Timothy 5:13). This is the type of gossip that tarnishes reputations, divulges secrets (proverbs 16:27-28). This kind of gossip more often originates originates from a distortion rather than a lie, while statements and actions can usually be confirmed, its hard to prove intentions. Everyday slander, however, discredits character, twists motives and undermines public confidence.
That said, its difficult to curb gossip. Simply be careful where and how you wag about your tongue and about whom. Whether true or false, gossip affects us all.
Proverbs 18:8; the words of a whisperer are like dainty morsels, and they go down Into the innermost parts of the body.
Article by Carol Mbinda
RCWG Camp Alumni
Article by Carol Mbinda
RCWG Camp Alumni