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Photo: Marinela Sotoncic
Why is there such pleasure in having a good, juicy bit of gossip to share? Have you noticed how it just sort of bubbles out of you? You’re just dying to share the details with someone – anyone!!

I admit that I’m a gossiper. But when I feel guilty and wonder why I “share” so freely, I just use one of my great excuses. First, I think: I am a very open and honest person and I don’t mind people knowing stories and secrets about me, so why should anyone else mind? Then, I use the excuse that it is my deep concern for the person I’m gossiping about that makes me share and discuss their problems and downfalls with others – ya know, I’m just hoping to solve their problems for them! And I also tell myself that if they didn’t want people to know, they shouldn’t have told me. (Which is certainly obvious!!)

In high school there is so much drama. It seems that every day brings new crisis (especially, it seems, to girls). Problems between friends, the beginnings and endings of romance, arguments with teachers, fights with parents, disappointment about not making the team, a depressed friend, a bad grade… the list goes on and on. Unfortunately, when I was in high school I used all of those crises and turned them into great stories to broadcast to anyone who would listen.

I hate to use the “S” word – but gossiping was and still is a sin in my life (Romans 1:29). And no matter what excuses I make, deep down I know the truth: when I gossip about someone else and all eyes (and ears) are on me as I spin the tale, it makes me feel better about myself. (And you thought that putting others down to make yourself feel better was something we got over in 5th grade. Evidently not.)

Proverbs talks quite a bit about the problems of gossiping:

"A gossip goes around revealing secrets, but those who are trustworthy can keep a confidence." (Proverbs 11:13)
"A troublemaker plants seeds of strife; gossip separates the best of friends." (Proverbs 16:28)
"As surely as a wind from the north brings rain, so a gossiping tongue causes anger!" (Proverbs 25:23)
"Fire goes out for lack of fuel, and quarrels disappear when gossip stops." (Proverbs 26:20)

So I guess the question is, what kind of a person do we want to be? A trustworthy friend who can keep secrets? Or do we want our words to cause anger, quarreling and the break up of friendships? 

I have hurt people by the gossip I’ve passed on. I want that to stop. I know God can give me the strength to keep my lips sealed and have my trustworthiness make us both proud.

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By Joelle Yamada. Copyright © 2014 by GraceNotes. All rights reserved. Use of this material is subject to usage guidelines. Scripture taken from the New Living Translation ®.

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