Gossip is fueled by reaction. When someone tells you something you shouldn’t even know—the way you respond often determines how many times it’s told again. If you gasp with wonder and interest—the person sees they have something and are motivated to seek the same reaction in others. If, however, you appear not as interested or intrigued, the person may feel disarmed somewhat from sharing it more.
Some of the juiciest gossip is disguised as a prayer request. Be honest. You’ve done or seen this done many times. People do this to pastors all the time. “Pastor, please pray for the Jones family. I’ve heard their son is really causing them problems. Just wanted you to know so you could be praying.” And, actually, many times they just wanted me to know so they could be telling.
People often stir drama for personal advantage. It could be to advance their own agenda. They may be on a power play. Sometimes people talk about others thinking it will make them feel better about their own life. And, sadly, I’ve known people who seem to get a “cheap thrill” out of creating drama. (I’ve never understood this one—but it’s true.)
The only reliable source is the direct source. Every. Single. Time. In fact, a good discipline would be to not repeat anything that wasn’t from a direct source.
Thumper’s mom was right. If we can’t say something nice—we really shouldn’t say anything at all. If we all lived by this principle there would be far less drama. And far less pain caused as a result.
Gossip destroys. Gossip can bring down a person’s reputation quickly. Start a tale about someone and watch their character unravel in front of you. It happens to celebrities and politicians. I’ve seen in happen to pastors, individuals and entire churches.
The point of this post is awareness. Most of my readers are believers. Some nonbelievers, however, will likely share my distaste of gossip in relationships. If you’ve made it this far in the post, you and I can make a difference in stopping gossip from spreading by how we respond to it.
You may want to read my post 7 Ways to Stop Gossip. Or, even better, read the Book of James in the New Testament. Or maybe Ephesians (specifically note 4:29).