Not to get all biblical here, but there is a reason “bearing false witness” is one of the Ten Commandments. Even God knew how damaging the gossip mill could be. After all, look what happened when all those people went around saying Jesus was a ‘pretender’ (or a poser) and want to start a revolution against the Roman Empire.
So if you’ve ever been the target of untrue or malicious gossip, you’re in good company. If not, you probably know someone or witnessed how another was disliked because of rumors. The truth is, many cultures place high importance on reputation, and reputations are made or destroyed by word of mouth.
How can we tell if we’re just gabbing good-naturedly, or participating in gossip? The very simple answer to this is a question: What good will come from saying this?
If there isn’t any good that will result, then don’t waste your time by repeating the information. Share what will have a good outcome and be purposeful about creating positive energy, not just in your life, but in the lives of others.
There are times when speaking about something that is less than positive is necessary. When a person’s well being will be negatively impacted by your silence, then speaking up is necessary. Sharing with your friend’s mother that she has started cutting or your buddy’s dad that he’s been drinking and driving may not be appreciated in the moment, but could save the life of the person you care about.
Doing the right thing is rarely doing the easy thing. Courage is doing that right thing even if you fear the impact on yourself or the relationship with another. Refrain from harming others and allowing others to be harmed or harm themselves. You’ll soon discover the reward of true friendships that will last your lifetime.
Have you had an experience with gossip? Have you ever saved a friend by sharing what you know with the right people? What was the outcome?