Two Questions:

Posted: May 25, 2010 in Daily Blog
Tags: , ,

I heard something today someone said about someone close to me that I couldn’t even begin to understand, and really questioned where it came from because it was so out of character for this person.  (I know that is a lot of generalities, but because of this being a public forum, I want to keep as much unspecific as possible!) How do these crazy stories about people get started?  Why must we make ourselves feel better by sharing bad things or made up things about other people?

Gossip and rumor are two of the most devastating things we can participate in.  Unfortunately they don’t come with a surgeon general’s warning on the packaging like cigarettes, but they can be way more lethal to a person’s heart or character and are extremely difficult to overcome. What is gossip?  “a casual or unconstrained conversation or reports about other people, typically involving details that are not confirmed as being true.”

The problem with gossip is not only the truth part; (are you absolutely positive it is true, or are people making assumptions?), but that it is so easy to get caught up in the sharing of another person’s life.  Usually the stories being shared are juicy and we all have the natural tendency to want know more, but there is always another side to the story, and before anyone takes something that may or may not be true to be “truth” I would suggest asking two questions…

1. Do I really need / want to know about this?  With information comes responsibility, and we must ask ourselves, “Is it going to bring positive things into my life or call my opinion of someone else into question?” and “Does what this person tells me have any bearing on how I will treat the other person in the future?” “am I willing to lose a friendship over what this person is about to tell me?” and “why is this person telling me this?”

2. Have you talked to them about it?  This one always amazes me.  If you are listening to someone say things about another person in a negative and derogatory way and they have not attempted to talk to the person they are talking about to check motive, truth, and situational issues, you should stop listening.  At that point they are sharing things with you hoping to change your mind about a person.   I like to say in response to someone’s disparaging comments about another person, “that really doesn’t sound like them to me, we should go talk to them about it.”   If they won’t go to the person with you, you should tell them to stop talking! (and by “stop talking” I really mean shut up!)

If you have found yourself in a situation when you have heard something about someone that calls their character into question, you should go and talk to them about it.  Too many people take gossip as fact, don’t get the facts, and make decisions based on untruths, or partial truths that plant seeds of doubt tainting your opinion of the other person.  I actually think higher of people that come to me and say things like, “I heard that you _____, is it true?” and it gives me a chance not only to share my side of the story, but lets me know you are the kind of person that seeks understanding before jumping to conclusions!  Am I always right in every situation, no!  But I would sure like the opportunity to know what is being said about me and how I can better respond to it, and learn from it,  and I am sure you would as well.

Gossip is a heart killer, it has been around for a long long time, and will continue to be around for a long long time, so we better learn how to handle it without letting it take pieces of our lives.  Since there is no “nicorette” gum for gossip, let me share some ancient wisdom with you instead… chew on these Proverbs…

16:28 A perverse man stirs up dissension,

and a gossip separates close friends.

20:19 A gossip betrays a confidence;

so avoid a man who talks too much.

18:8 The words of a gossip are like choice morsels;

they go down to a man’s inmost parts.

26:20 Without wood a fire goes out;

without gossip a quarrel dies down.

26:22 The words of a gossip are like choice morsels;

they go down to a man’s inmost parts.


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