Ruining a good relationship
Would you like to know how to ruin a good relationship with someone? Would you like to know how to destroy the trust someone has in you? It might surprise you that gossip is one of the most serious threats to having and keeping long- lasting friendships. Think about it for a minute. In your work place, in your church, your social activities, and in your neighborhood, chances are that gossip has interfered with the friendships of many people you know.
Webster defines gossip as a “ trifling, often groundless rumor, usually of a personal, sensational or intimate nature; idle talk.” It is passing on information about someone else in a manner which puts them down and questions their reputation.
The Bible has a lot to about a person who gossips. Proverbs 11: 13 — “A gossip betrays a confidence, but a trustworthy man keeps a secret.” Proverbs 16: 28 — “A perverse man stirs up dissension, and a gossip separates close friends.” Proverbs 18: 8 — “ The words of a gossip are like choice morsels; they go down to a man’s inmost parts.” Proverbs 20: 19 - “A gossip betrays a confidence; so avoid a man who talks too much.” Proverbs 26: 20 — “ Without wood a fire goes out; without gossip a quarrel dies down” ( NIV).
The Old Testament Hebrew word for gossip literally means “ tale- bearer” — one who has a tale to tell about someone else. This person likes to pick up as many stories as she or he can and take it from person to person sowing discord and revealing secrets to which she or he has been entrusted. Friendships are ruined. Jobs are lost. Families are hurt. Church fellowships divided. In the meantime the gossip moves on like there are no consequences.
Followers of Jesus can get sucked into this behavior as well, and that is why the Bible warns against it. I have found three ways to handle gossip when it comes my way. First, I ask myself: “ Would I share this information with another person in front of the person about whom it pertains?” If I wouldn’t, then I should not pass it on. Second, I realize that I am carrying two buckets — a bucket of gas and a bucket of water. I can put gas on the information I receive, or I can put water on information. Third, I try to remember the Golden Rule which Jesus gave to us: “ Do to others as you would have them do to you” ( Luke 6: 31, NIV).
Dr. Foley Beach is the rector and pastor of Holy Cross Anglican Church in Loganville. The A Word from the Lord radio broadcast can be heard in Hall County each Sunday morning at 10: 00 on WDUN ( 550 AM) or anytime at www. awordfromthelord. org. You may respond to this article or send your questions to foleybeach@ awordfromthelord. org or visit www. awordfromthelord. org.
Dr. Foley Beach