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Wednesday, May 27, 2015

The destructiveness of gossip

Do a topical study in the bible on the word "gossip" (and its many synonyms); you will be busy for a long time as the bible has much to say about this subject and its many faces. Once the 'gossip fire' has been sparked it's impossible to stop it or repair all of the damage that has been done by it. I recently read a short story likening gossip to opening up a feather pillow outside on a windy day ... the feathers go in every direction. Trying to collect ALL of the feathers again is like a person repenting of the "gossip fire" they kindled. You might be able to collect some feathers but you will never know where or how far many of the feathers traveled and they can never be recovered.

I don't know who Morgan Blake is but I appreciate what he wrote - it's called "Who Am I?"
 
I am more deadly than the screaming shell of the cannon. 
I win without killing. 
I tear down homes, break hearts, and wreck lives. 
I travel on the wings of the wind. 
No innocence is strong enough to intimidate me, no purity pure enough to daunt me. 
I have no regard for truth, no respect for justice, no mercy for the defenseless. 
My victims are as numerous as the sands of the sea and often as innocent. 
I never forget and seldom forgive. 
My name is Gossip. 

Really it all just comes down to loving one another and treating others as you would have them treat you.

Here are a few more thoughts on gossip ...

The other day I was watching a BBC Word documentary on Homeopathy. In Homeopathy you take one part of the poison, allergen, or whatever, and mix it with 99 parts water. It is then shaken up quite vigorously and now this new solution becomes the 1 part in 99 parts water for the next solution. This is done several times (30 I think) until what you have left is the equivalent to 1 part original mixed with more water than will fit into this WHOLE ENTIRE WORLD. Not a trace of the original molecules can be detected nor do they exist.

Now think of gossip. This is a pretty rough comparison but bear with me here. Gossip is like taking one part truth (or one part you THINK is truth) and mixing it with 99 parts of your interpretation of that truth, suspicions, biases, ignorance, etc. Now you share this 'truth' with someone else. This new 'truth' is then mixed with 99 parts of the next person's interpretation of that truth, suspicions, ignorance, etc. Now that next person shares this 'truth' with someone else. And it continues, on and on, becoming more and more distorted.

I have no idea who Criss Jami is but I found several quotes from him when looking up quotes about gossip. His quotes ring so true I thought I'd share them here.

“Just because something isn't a lie does not mean that it isn't deceptive. A liar knows that he is a liar, but one who speaks mere portions of truth in order to deceive is a craftsman of destruction.”  

“Grudges are for those who insist that they are owed something; forgiveness, however, is for those who are substantial enough to move on.”  

“To share your weakness is to make yourself vulnerable; to make yourself vulnerable is to show your strength.”   (and I'd like to add that we are totally opening ourselves up to gossip when we are honest enough to share our weaknesses)

“The only thing more frustrating than slanderers is those foolish enough to listen to them.”  

“What man ever openly apologizes for slander? It is not so much a feeling of slander as it is that of a massive lie, a misdeed not only to the slandered but also to those manipulated in the process. He has made them all, every one, his enemies, thereupon he is so overwhelmed with guilt that he will deny it until his grave.”  

“The motive behind criticism often determines its validity. Those who care criticize where necessary. Those who envy criticize the moment they think that they have found a weak spot.”  

“A rumor is a social cancer: it is difficult to contain and it rots the brains of the masses. However, the real danger is that so many people find rumors enjoyable. That part causes the infection. And in such cases when a rumor is only partially made of truth, it is difficult to pinpoint exactly where the information may have gone wrong. It is passed on and on until some brave soul questions its validity; that brave soul refuses to bite the apple and let the apple eat him. Forced to start from scratch for the sake of purity and truth, that brave soul, figuratively speaking, fully amputates the information in order to protect his personal judgment. In other words, his ignorance is to be valued more than the lie believed to be true.”  

“Popular culture is a place where pity is called compassion, flattery is called love, propaganda is called knowledge, tension is called peace, gossip is called news, and auto-tune is called singing.”  

And one from Mother Teresa - “If you judge people, you have no time to love them.”  

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