A gossip betrays a confidence, but a trustworthy person keeps a secret.
Can you keep a secret? Will you hide it from people who don’t need to know? What about information that could damage the reputation of another person? Will those details stop with you or will you pass them along? Sadly, most Christians struggle with both.
Eleanor Roosevelt once said, “Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people.” Why do we struggle so much with talking about each other? What’s so appealing about gossip? Why is it tempting to “spill the beans”? More often than not, it’s about self-righteousness. We prop ourselves up by putting others down. Additionally, it keeps us at the center of attention. Finally, since others struggle with the same temptations, we become like little “drug dealers” if you will, providing a “fix” for our friends…which keeps us in the spotlight.
Do we need a Savior, or what? I like how the “Let God Be True” commentary on Proverbs handles this one:
“This sin is an abomination to God, and He hates it. His holy nature knows that spreading damaging news about others is to rape their reputations. Instead of violating a person’s body and creating painful and fearful memories, it can leave permanent scars or questions on a person’s reputation with others and the pain and trouble of defending ancient faults or sins by the person. Guard your tongue, reader. Do not let it spread secrets that should be concealed. It does not matter at all whether the information is true or not. If the matter is not needed for the proper exercise of authority, then bury it. If the matter could hurt a person’s reputation, then bury it. If the matter is not uplifting or commending or helpful, then bury it.”