Gossip, according to most people, is an ugly word made up of
lies, half-truths, rumours and private and intimate affairs. It can be traced
back to the anglo-saxon times to words that meant ‘God’ and ‘kin’, which is
contrary to what most people think. Gossip can be positive if you’re sharing
information that is not necessarily negative, but the problem is that it
usually quickly turns negative commonly known to many as the ‘inside scoop’.
Let me call it informative discussion. It is synonymous with
small, light, informal conversations for any social occasion. There is actually
no way people can live without discussing the what, how, when, why and whom of
others. It is normally depicted as a person given secret information and who
divulges it to others. I will equate it to rumors especially when they are
untrue. We have the signs of people engaging their noses deeply into other
people’s business. There are the knowing looks, nudges, winks, furtive glances
and for those who have not brushed up on the skill, hands partially covering
Gossip is everywhere and is inevitable just like change. Its
in schools, workplaces, church, cities and around our homes. There are
celebrity gossip, wrestling gossip, Barbie gossip even E-gossip. Gossip is
entertainment for most people, but for those being gossiped about, its
detrimental, negative and damaging to their lives.
Gossip is basically lies, lies and more lies. It always
starts with people having tid bits of information about a person they know or
don’t know, and they take that information and build a new story around it in
their heads. Then they tell their friends who spurn it with even more false
information. So by the time it reaches ears of the supposed person; it’s
another level.
Gossip gets carried away because talking about other
people’s crazy made up lives is sometimes more fun than talking about reality.
Real life is crazy enough without having people make stuff up about you &
vice versa. There has to be a better way for people to socialize without making
up lies. There is nothing worse than a little ‘harmless gossip’.
Most people will deny that they are gossiping and dress it
up as “fact”. Apparently, we have one special category of people that are the
most dangerous, the all “perfect” kind. These are the people who you’ll never
find a hair out of place, always have a good word for everyone and everything
they encounter, your confident, friend etc. woe unto you when that friendship
reaches it end, they will make you grovel and dig deeper and regurgitate all
the stored up information at very unexpected moments. Before you tell your
tales to them, scratch just a little beneath the surface and its quickly
apparent that underneath all that gloss is one hideous mask..
However, even as we tell our idle little stories and indulge
in half-truths about others, we must try to draw the line at the hurtful
malicious stuff that can destroy reputations. There are actually three stains
of gossips, one; the innoculous chitchat about the weather, schools, churches
etc and its an easy descent to number two; a more personal level about people,
family, friends moods, character & personality. This kind of rumour, though
not vindictive becomes the basis for judgements of character and so often grows
with re-telling to the intimate and private problems of others.
Lastly and thirdly; slander, no wonder apostle paul,
censored those who “get into the habit of being idle and going about from house
to house. And not only do they become idlers, but also gossips and busy bodies
saying things they ought not to” (1 Timothy 5:13). This is the type of gossip
that tarnishes reputations, divulges secrets (proverbs 16:27-28). This kind of
gossip more often originates originates from a distortion rather than a lie,
while statements and actions can usually be confirmed, its hard to prove
intentions. Everyday slander, however, discredits character, twists motives and
undermines public confidence.
That said, its difficult to curb gossip. Simply be careful
where and how you wag about your tongue and about whom. Whether true or false,
gossip affects us all.
Proverbs 18:8; the words of a whisperer are like dainty
morsels, and they go down Into the innermost parts of the body.

Article by Carol Mbinda
RCWG Camp Alumni