Did you play the Telephone Game in elementary school? It started with the teacher whispering a comment in your ear then it got passed to the next student until it went all the way around. It was often funny what the last person thought they heard. Gossip is like that. The first whisper is rarely the same as the last. I makes me remember a time when Ray, my husband, was having a cath procedure done to see what what going on with his heart. By the time it got back to us he was having a heart replacement. Of course, we had to assure everyone who had heard the news that at the most he might have a stent placed. That’s what happens, isn’t it? Our words are repeated and repeated until they in no way resemble what was originally said.
The 9th Commandment says do not bear false witness. Do not lie. Do not speak untruths. It could also say…QUIT GOSSIPING! Over and over the Word tells us to bridle our tongues (James 1:26). Perhaps a bridle should be part of the Armor! Look at some of the verses I’ve put into my own words.
Proverbs 21:3 Keep yourself out of trouble by thinking before you speak.
Matthew 12:37 You will be both justified and condemned by every spoken word.
John 1:1 God is the Word! Always has been and always will be!
Luke 6:35 What the mind is really thinking the mouth says!
Proverbs 18:13 Listen before you say anything.
Psalm 118:17 Live and talk about God!
There is a song I remember singing as a child that says it all – – Oh, be careful little mouth what you say, for the Father up above is looking down in love, oh, be careful little mouth what you say.
One more thought…It is perfectly OK and perhaps even scriptural (see Titus 1:10 below) to ask the person who says to much, the gossip who shares to much, the abuser who is demeaning…to just Shut Up!
Titus 1:10 For there are a lot of rebels out there, full of loose, confusing, and deceiving talk. Those who were brought up religious and ought to know better are the worst. They’ve got to be shut up! (The Message)
My fervent prayer is this: Oh, LORD, My rock and my Redeemer, may the words of my mouth and the thoughts I am thinking be acceptable in Your sight. (Psalm 19:14)
We need to be very careful Marie how we respond to others, Titus tells us that these people were using confusing, and deceiving talk, in other words they were deceiving others and confusing them about God’s Truth. Psalm 19:14 is about our asking God to know His Truth so we do not do this , sadly there are many who are in error in the Church and teach it to others.
Some people’s life issues my be very troubling to them and they are genuinely hurting, we need to show Love and compassion, not shut the door in their face like some do and even think they are justified in doing so.
Yes someone who gossips without just cause or proof, needs to be rebuked or shares error Tbut we all share about the problems we have, even when they are about others, Paul did about Mark and he sure got upset with the childish Christians, Jesus did with the Pharisees, and others who were causing problems in the Church.
To be honest I would rather people be honest, than two faced, claiming affection and friendship but deliberately hurting others by their indifference, or playing emotional games, to see how they respond or putting them to the test by their own fleshy agenda, deception of this kind shows they have a very unloving spirit and is much worse than someone who has genuine problems and shares them even if bluntly, meaning without sugar on top ,
We are to be genuine in our Love for others and sometimes that will mean listening to all their ups and downs more than once and we may not think their problems are that bad but if they are hurting them they are.
When people are hurting , we don’t unlovingly label them, we care and try and help them and even if they seem long winded, we don’t judge their weakness and shortcomings, we have our own that no doubt others find hard at times, in other words, we continue to have genuine Love and concern for others, not just now and again but all the time.
Christian Love from both of us – Anne
Marie, you are so right on!