a good day to think about the effects of gossip.
“The words of a whisperer are like tiny morsels, and they go down into the innermost parts of the body.” Proverbs 18:8 NASB
Many of us love to be in possession of a “juicy piece of gossip.” We like to pass along information that we didn’t get first hand but even if we did, is it right? Are we helping anyone when we gossip about others, whether repeating what we have heard or passing along firsthand knowledge?
Yes, helping, for that is what God expects of us. He expects us to help one another and when we spend time talking about other people, or digging for information about other people, we are wasting valuable time that could be spent in constructive ways.
Often, we feel entitled to information, particularly in regard to new neighbors. We feel that we have a right to know all about people who are going to be in close proximity to us. Sometimes, our investigation leads us to a revelation of something in the person’s past that we consider a threat to ourselves and to those we love. When we make a discovery, we feel the need to share it, and in the process of sharing information, decisions are made and judgment is passed, and in many, many unfortunate instances, a bad choice someone has made in the past – an error in personal judgment, or lapse in morality – turns a neighborhood against a newcomer.
Before the individual has an opportunity to prove themselves, or demonstrate what is in their heart, we have taken it upon ourselves to do something that Jesus Himself said we should not do.
“Do not judge, or you too will be judged.” (Matthew 7:1 NIV).
We can offer up all of the justification we want for demanding information but it will not change what Jesus said. People make bad choices in their lives. Some of them, in the eyes of the law, are worse than others. But when an individual has dealt with a legal problem to the satisfaction of proper authorities, it is not our right, our duty, or our responsibility to pass further judgment.
Only God knows a person’s heart. We should, instead, ask God to reveal this person’s heart to us.
No matter what it may be we discover about another person, we must always remember to look within ourselves before we begin to speak ill of another. It is always easy to call another person’s morality into question; to criticize another person’s behavior; or to even ‘simply’ make fun of a person’s accent, clothing or hairstyle.
Jesus did not say, “Judge not unless it is something serious.”
He simply said, “Judge not.”
How can we do some of the things we do and claim our right as followers of Christ? We must all consider the effect our gossip has not only on the individual in question, but we must also consider the effect it has on our relationship with the Lord.
Taken from “TODAY IS….A Gift From God”, (C) 2013 Tony Casson