A book I'm reading describes the various approaches Christians have used to deal with “being in the world but not of it”. One of these approaches is to cocoon themselves in their own little community separated from the sinful world. Problem with this, the author states, is that they take their own sin into the cocoon with them.
eldest might be getting a taste of that at her new school. It's a
rather prominent Christian school here in town, but she says there
seems to be a gossip epidemic on campus. Everyone knows it; the
teachers bring it up in admonition on a frequent basis . . .
although many of those teachers are themselves some of the biggest
daughter doesn't think she personally has much of a problem with gossip
(“although that may mostly be because I don't talk much at
all”), but her observation did lead to a discussion of what
constitutes gossip and what doesn't.
really, why wouldn't kids at school talk about each other? And why
shouldn't they? If merely passing on second-hand information about
another person is a crime, how would we ever know anything about
anybody? What distinguishes gossip from casual, harmless
conversation? Is it the content of what is said? Is it the way the
information could be used or perceived? Is it the motive of the
I google a definition of “gossip”, it tells me that gossip
typically involves details that are not confirmed as being true. But
this is easily turned around to create an excuse: “It's true, so
it can't be gossip.” In fact, we can come up with all sorts of
excuses to justify this behavior. “She didn't say it was a
secret, so I'm sure it's okay to share.” Or the grandmama of them
all: “I'm just sharing this with all of you so you can pray
for her.” Mm-hmm.
Google source gives a more specific description
of what the Bible says constitutes gossip. We are gossiping when
tell a secret (Prov 11:13)
talk too much about others (Prov 16:28)
use our words to add fuel to a fight (Prov 28:20)
discuss topics we shouldn't (1 Tim 5:13)
cause division with our words (Prov 16:28)
(Although "too much" is still pretty subjective . . . )
about the school's approach to the problem, I asked my daughter if
the teachers' reprimands were simple scolding or if they
included suggestions for how to identify what's gossip, how to
direct conversations away from inappropriate topics, what else to
talk about instead. No, just scolding. In my BSF this week, we read
this teaching of Christ's in Matthew 12:
an evil spirit leaves a person, it goes into the desert, seeking
rest but finding none. Then it says, “I will return to the person
I came from.” So it returns and finds its former home empty, swept
and in order. Then the spirit finds seven other spirits more evil
than itself, and they all enter the person and live there. And so
that person is worse off than before.
When dealing with our pet sins, getting
rid of the bad is not enough – you must replace it with the good so
there is no room for the bad to return.
Hmm . . . excuse me while I apply that teaching to my own little pet sin . . .