slan·der: The action or crime of making a false spoken statement damaging to a person's reputation.
I have been thinking about "gossip" this week and why it is such a huge issue within church circles. I realize that it is often challenging to remain constrained when we hear a juicy tidbit about someone, but as Christians we should really stop talking about other people. Especially people we love. I sent an email to a good friend this week about something he told me:
Gossip is an evil thing and it is rampant in the church. I hope you understand the intent of this email as I just hope to curb the type of gossip that destroys the character of those we love.
His response, while honest, was a bit surprising:
Gossip is definitely a terrible thing... it's hard to know sometimes what constitutes something as "gossip". Generally if there is any doubt as to the validity I would make sure that the person I was telling is aware of this and would not share it if I thought it wasn't supposed to be shared.
I'm confused. Are you saying that it is okay to gossip if the situation is right or presentable? And are you saying that you would gossip as long as you were sure it was true?
"A gossip betrays a confidence; so avoid anyone who talks too much."
"A gossip betrays a confidence, but a trustworthy person keeps a secret."
Is there "good" gossip vs. "bad" or evil gossip? Does the Bible only encourage us to stay away from corrupt or malicious people that gossip? And is it okay to gossip about someone if you are trustworthy?
I don't think so. Mostly because the "report" given is usually 99% useless and unnecessary to the "hearer" is it given to. Why do I need to know that information about that person? I don't. And so we should stop talking. Especially if we don't know if it is true. Because if it is not true... we are really in trouble.
Do not be deceived: ...slanderers will (not) inherit the kingdom of God. [1 Corinthians 6:9-10]