Disruptions come not to teach us what to think but how to think. They compel us to think forward to do something good in the midst of uncertainty. One of the most common disruptions I have observed is gossip. Then come illnesses and deaths. Gossip is so contagious like a virus that can destroy your soul. I’ve been betrayed by gossip. I’ve gossiped about people when they’re not around. “Oh, wretched man (woman) I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death?” (Paul of Tarsus)
“How much time he gains who does not look to see what his neighbor says or does or thinks, but only at what he does himself.”?Marcus Aurelius
An old proverb tells the story of a person who repeated a rumor about a neighbor. Soon, the whole community had heard the rumor. Later, the person who spread the gossip learned that the rumor was untrue. He was very sorry and went to an elder in the community who had a reputation for great wisdom to seek advice. The elder told him, “Go to your home and take a feather pillow outside. Rip it open and scatter the feathers, then return to me tomorrow.” The man did as the elder had instructed.
The following day, he visited the elder. The elder said, “Go collect the feathers you scattered yesterday and bring them back to me.” The man went home and searched for the feathers, but the wind had carried them all away. Returning to the elder, he admitted, “I could find none of the feathers I scattered yesterday.” “You see,” said the elder, “it‘s easy to scatter the feathers but impossible to get them back.” So it is with gossip; it doesn’t take much to spread hurtful words, but once you do, you can never completely undo the damage.
Author Charles Kimball defines gossip in the first person: I break hearts and ruin lives. I am cruel and malicious and gather strength with age. The more I am quoted, the more I am believed. I flourish at every level of society. My victims are helpless. They cannot protect themselves against me because I have no name and no face. To track me down is impossible. The harder you try, the more elusive I become. I’m nobody’s friend. Once I tarnish a reputation, it is never the same. I topple governments and ruin marriages. I destroy careers and cause heartache and sleepless nights. I wreck churches and separate Christians. I spawn suspicion and generate grief, make innocent people cry on their pillows. Even my name hisses. I am gossip.
So what is gossip? It is a whisperer – a person who whispers behind your back with intention of hurting you.
Gossip is fueled by hatred, jealousy, and envy. Gossip obscures the truth. Gossip drives us away from God.
The paradox of gossip is, “O the blessedness of disruption!” They come to strengthen us to climb that mountain, to cross over that river, and to walk through that fire. They give us courage to live one day at a time without trying to manage what life should offer us. Disruptions hurl us from the trap of slavery to others’ thoughts, deeds, and words. [/restrict]