We frequently hear little jokes about gossip, like the two people who were talking and one said, "I can't tell you any more. I've already told you more than I heard." In that line is much of the tragedy about gossip, which can and often has destroyed a person's reputation. Gossip always damages relationships and specifically with the person you are gossiping about. For example, once you have said something unkind about a person, you will feel uncomfortable around him or her and your relationship will suffer.
Dr. Adrian Rogers wisely points out that before we disseminate information that might be considered gossip, we must carefully ponder three questions:
(1) Is it the truth? If it fails the first test, then it is not repeatable.
(2) Even if it is the truth, do you really need to share it? Will it help anyone? Will it hurt anyone? Would it be better left unsaid? If there are no benefits to anyone, then what possible purpose could repeating it serve?
(3) Is it kind? In our world so full of cynicism and skepticism, will repeating this story be kind? Can it be better left unsaid? Would you really be better off repeating this information?
When you analyze it this way, your chances of being a gossiper are dramatically reduced. When you consider the benefits of stopping gossip in its tracks, you'll discover they're substantial.
First, you do not damage yourself, which means that your reputation and esteem are untarnished. That's good. Second, you won't harm someone else's reputation. This means that your circle of friends will be larger. Since most of us do not have any friends we would like to lose, that's good!
Think about it and I'll SEE YOU AT THE TOP!
. . . Adapted from Zig's book, Something Else To Smile About, published by Thomas Nelson.