Thursday, June 25, 2009
Chris Brauns on Gossip
Blogger Chris Brauns has a helpful post on gossip. I left a comment on his blog asking him for a biblical definition of gossip; here is his response and my follow up:
Nick, it’s such a good question. My first thought is that you are a guy who is attempting to think biblically. And, that is 80% of the battle.
Of course, it is a matter of discernment. So, as we grow in wisdom we will be able to spot gossip. It’s like the old Supreme Court line about pornography, something to the effect of, “I can’t define it, but I know it when I see it.”
Having said that, several questions could be asked: (1) Does it betray a confidence? 20:19 (2) Does it need to be said to glorify God and build relationships? (3) Is Matthew 18:15-17 being violated? In other words, should someone either be confronted or should the matter just be let go (Prov 19:11, 17:14). (4) Is the person who is hearing the information part of the solution? Often talking to a pastor is necessary. But, talking to someone who isn’t a leader in the church isn’t.
Sometimes Proverbs calls it “whispering” (ESV) – - Is it “whispering”, and I’m thinking about the way it is said?
Sloppy answer on my part. I’m talking around it. But, I think it’s worth doing. Just you asking helped sharpen my thinking.
Gossip: the unnecessary spread of information (often sensational) when that information may damage another or the cause of Christ or help a party avoid confrontation that should take place.
Nick — can you tweak that and make it better?
Your answer was extremely helpful. Would you mind if I posted it on my blog? I don’t have much to add to what you said except that I guess a good test to ask ourselves before we share information comes from Mark 12.30-31: And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” If we ask ourselves “Am I loving God?” and then “Am I loving my neighbor?” it might cause us to think twice before sharing information about that neighbor.