“Listen to this,” I said to my teenage daughter, as we sat waiting in the doctor’s office, as I read to her from a magazine article on gossip.
‘It’s a way to navigate our social networks … we also gossip to let others know who we are. Say you pass on a juicy nugget about a neighbor’s infidelity. Offering your opinion about it lets you show off your own moral fiber. In return, you find out whether the person you’re dishing with agrees with you. As you tsk-tsk together over the details, what you’re really doing is saying ‘We’re better than that,’ says Dr. Fisher. “You’re reaffirming and sharing your own values.” (Rebook. Feb 2011. “Have You Heard? Admit it, you love a good piece of gossip. Here’s why it’s not as bad a habit as you may think” pg 24).
Oh, please! Gossip is good? I wanted to throw up. Were they serious? That article made me mad – and deeply sad.
Then I had a flashback of a memory.
Several years ago, I received a phone call from a friend of mine. It was during a very challenging and pain splattered time for our family.
“Andrea, this is hard for me to tell you, but I think you need to know. This afternoon I was having lunch with two other friends. While we were sitting at the table, we heard two women at the table next to us talking about you and your family.”
My friend went on to share with me the very hurtful details that these two other women were saying about my children, about me and about my husband -- details which I’d rather not even repeat here.
I listened, speechless, my heart splayed out on a platter.
“Well, Andrea, we were quite upset by what they were saying about you, and so we stood up and approached them at their table. We said, ‘We just want you to know that we know that family and you have no right to talk about them in that way.’ The 2 women just stared at us and we sat down. We left shortly after that, very upset, but had to return to get a coat that we forgot. When we went back in, we took advantage of one more opportunity and said to the women, ‘Let this be a lesson to all of us. We should not talk about other people.’”
I thanked my friend for her call. I appreciated her honesty and her willingness to share with me when I knew it was hard for her to do. She knew it would hurt me, but that it was important that I know.
Gossip. Despite the author’s opinions from Redbook, I would disagree. Does gossip really show off our own moral fiber, revealing what we believe (in a positive light)? And as you put someone else down, are you really reaffirming and sharing your own values?
Well, I suppose it does show off our moral fiber—it shows that our moral fiber is frayed and dirty. It shows that we are a superficial people who are bent towards self, easily tempted to put others down and elevate ourselves. It says that we do not honor the value of others. Gossip destroys.
Gossip is NOT good.
I was hurt by the gossip, but it did teach me a lesson. I’m not perfect at it, but when tempted to gossip, I remember the pain that I felt when I heard what these women were saying about me and my family in public and I remember what the Lord says, “Love one another.”
I am thankful for my friends who stood up for me. I know it cost them something. They were brave. They loved me. And I'm also thankful for an opportunity to talk to my teenage daughter about the destruction of gossip. It was good for us to look at the article and discern what is truth and what is a lie, and it was good to be able to share with her a story from my life.How about you?
Have you ever overheard gossip about yourself? Have you ever been told that someone is gossiping about you? How did it make you feel? How did it change how you behave?