Sunday, August 24, 2008

gossip meter…

Today, I’d like to have a gossip meter. A machine that would register when the gossip is starting and tell me what to do…

Several years ago, I was the victim of a malicious gossiper at church. It was horrible. She would invite a group of people out to dinner after church and talk about me.
I tried and tried to confront the person (Matt. 18). I called (several times) and asked her point blank what she I had done to offend her and she refused to tell me what was wrong.
What was worse in my opinion was that this person spreading the gossip was the chairperson of our elders and that she was talking to some of our new believers.
What hurt the most though, was that people I considered good friends, allowed the gossip to be spread and did not stop the person.
To this day, I don’t have any idea why she was so angry.

Yesterday I got caught in the middle of a gossip session. It was a birthday cook out for a friend at church. Family, co-workers, old friends, new friends, believers and skeptics.
I was having a grand time. Talking to friends and finally settling in to get to know a co-worker of the gal that threw the party. She was a really nice gal and a skeptic.
It started innocently, as a person who used to attend our church was trying to catch up with where various old friends were in life now. Then all of the sudden it took a turn towards malicious gossiping. You know how it starts: “Do you remember _____? Well, she was my room mate and…”
I didn’t know how to stop it. My excuse was I didn’t know the person that was talking. But, I did know at least one of the people who was listening to the gossip.
I just got up and left the party.
I could see the skeptic gal as I left, she had moved and was sitting by herself and watching this group of “loving Christians” with what appeared to be a smug look on her face. I was sure she was thinking “what a bunch of hypocrites.”
But, it’s been bothering me since then. I should have stopped it.

At our church we actually have sort of a mandate against gossiping. Our pastor has taken the bull by the horns several times. But, we also call ourselves the imperfect church. Because we are.
It’s too late for me to stop it today, so I did the least I could do. I sent an e-mail to the gal I was chatting with. Apologizing for not stopping the gossip and asking for her forgiveness.

O.k. So I don’t really need a gossip meter…I know what to do. I pray that next time I’ll be quicker to stop it.

How do you handle gossip? Are you the speaker, listener, watcher? Do you allow, believe, disbelieve, not-receive it or stop it?

Proverbs 18:8 (NIV)
8 The words of a gossip are like choice morsels; they go down to a man's inmost parts.

Romans 1:28-32 (NIV)
28 Furthermore, since they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, he gave them over to a depraved mind, to do what ought not to be done. 29 They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. They are gossips, 30`slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful; they invent ways of doing evil; they disobey their parents; 31`they are senseless, faithless, heartless, ruthless. 32`Although they know God's righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them.

1 comment:

prophetsandpopstars said...

Gossip sucks!

I was on a staff once where a new pastor came on and at like the first staff meeting he said, first time -- you get a warning, second time -- you get a pink slip. t

While it didn't stop it, it definitely curbed the staff culture in a positive direction.

I tend to become very distant and unresponsive until I find a place to challenge an assumption. That seems to have the desired affect.

I don't want to make anyone feel stupid. We're insecure creatures. However, we've all watched gossip do horrible things.