“My Name Is Gossip.
I have no respect for justice.
I maim without killing.
I break hearts and ruin lives.
I am cunning and malicious and gather strength with age.
The more I am quoted the more I am believed.
I flourish at every level of society.
My victims are helpless.
They cannot protect themselves against me because I have no name and no face.
To track me down is impossible.
The harder you try, the more elusive I become.
I am nobody’s friend.
Once I tarnish a reputation, it is never the same.
I topple governments and ruin marriages.
I ruin careers and cause sleepless nights, heartache and indigestion.
I spawn suspicion and generate grief.
I make innocent people cry in their pillows. Even my name hisses.
I AM CALLED GOSSIP.”
This eye-opening poem from an unknown author says a lot about the damage done through gossip.
What about the famous phrase we all have heard. “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me”?
In our hearts, we know this is not true, even though it may be a useful attitude to take when insulted by others.
Unfortunately…Reciting those words does not take the hurt away.
Words do tremendous damage.
I have been a victim of abuse, and lost a child to suicide, but I still have to say that some of my deepest hurts have come from the mouths of so-called-friends.
I am sure that I am not alone in this reality.
In fact…I bet it is safe to say that some of your deepest pains have probably come from hurtful words too.
Words carry great power.
Let’s examine that statement closely for just a moment and I will show you what I mean by that statement.
#1: God created the world through His words. He said, “Let there be light” and there was light.
#2: Humans also use words in producing great novels that move us and music that warms our hearts.
#3: Writers put lots of thought into the precise selection of their words so that their books or songs will inspire other and sell.
#4: We listen and communicate words every day that either lift us up or bring us down. Powerful, positive words can offer great healing, while negative words contain great destructive power.
Have you ever stopped to realize that there is no innocent way to participate in gossip.
Whenever we talk negatively about people or even when we simply listen to someone else talk negatively about others, we unleash negative power.
So how do we use this power of words with others?
Do our words lift and inspire, or do they destroy?
Are they words of truth?
Do we disclose truth in a hurtful way?
If someone paid us 10 cents for every kind word we said about people, and collected five cents for every unkind word, would we be rich or poor?
Gossip and slander can ruin reputations,
Break up families,
Destroy a marriage.
Separate lifelong friends.
It can destroy communities.
It has caused the division of churches.
Knowing that gossip is so destructive, why do we do it?
What do we hope to gain by lashing out at others with our tongues?
Are we so desperate for approval that we will willingly throw a friend under the bus just to vindicate ourselves?
Sometimes when I have chosen to gossip it was a futile attempt to make me feel better about myself.
But the irony of Gossip is this:
When we selfishly think that we can get an ego boost from others’ sins and mistakes, we always end up hurting ourselves the most!
Gossip has NEVER made me feel good!
When I have given in to the temptation to gossip I always leave the conversation feeling guilty and ashamed.
My intentions of making myself feel better by gossiping has always fallen flat on the ground, and I end up feeling worse than I would have if I had never said anything to begin with.
I understand the need to draw people into our own hurt and anger.
We want others to side with us so… we feel that must tell our side of the story in order to gain support for our side.
Then our friends repeat the story to their friends and on and on it goes.
Even if you say the truth, it does not justify unnecessarily passing on hurtful information about someone.
Remember words are powerful!
I was raised by a mother who is a wonderful example of Feminine Grace.
She taught all seven of her children that gossip was a six-letter word.
That simple little six letter word has the PHENOMENAL POWER to produce emotions of excitement,
Or pain and guilt,
Depending on if you are the gossiper, or if you are the one being gossiped about.
My mom explained to us that the excitement that comes from gossip is because it is human nature to want to hear dirt on others and then to repeat it.
Just stand in any check out line at any store and you will see the attraction gossip hold for us all.
One look at all the tabloids filled with dirt about the rich and famous and you will soon see just what she means.
It is fun to read and listen to gossip about others until it is about us.
Proverbs 20:19 says, “He that goeth about as a talebearer revealeth secrets: therefore meddle not with him that flattereth with his lips.”
Why is it so hard for us to see that participating in negative conversations harms us spiritually?
Pain comes when we are on the receiving end of the gossip trail.
Speaking ill of others is particularly bad because words, once uttered, can never be recalled.
Consider the following story illustrating this point.
There was a man in a small town who went around slandering a minister. One day, feeling bad about what he had done, he went to the minister to ask for forgiveness.
“Take a pillow,” said the minister, “cut it up and shake out the feathers.” The man did as he was told and then he returned to the minister hoping to now be forgiven.
“First,” said the minister, “go collect all the feathers.”
“But that’s impossible,” said the man. “They’ve gone everywhere.”
“It’s as impossible to repair the damage done by your words as it is to recover all the feathers,” said the minister.
Start today to responsibly monitor your words. They really do have tremendous power. See if you can’t keep more of those dimes!