But unfortunately, gossip usually doesn’t stay on a light and harmless path. It inevitably takes a sensational turn and that’s where it can cause damage.
The problem with gossip is that the “facts” shared are not always the truth, and even when they are, the spreading of them can steal another person’s reputation.
When you start chatting with friends, remember these insights, and most importantly, share with your children how gossip can hurt others.
Gossip Needs an Audience
If no one listens to gossip, then it cannot spread. If someone starts to gossip about another person, you can choose to say, “I’m sorry, but I don’t feel comfortable talking about this person when they’re not here to defend themselves.” Not only will you kill the rumor mill, you will also gain the trust of other people as someone who can be trusted with his tongue.
Gossip Shouldn’t Shape Your Opinions
When you hear gossip about someone you don’t know, you have two choices: let the gossip shape your opinion, or let your own experience guide your thinking. When you meet someone who’ve heard gossip about and they are nothing like you heard, it should be a reminder that you simply can’t believe everything you hear.
Gossip Doesn’t Think Before it Speaks
My mother always taught me that before I said something about a person, I should ask myself: Is it true? Is it kind? Is it necessary? Use that as a filter and if the person you are talking to is not part of the problem or solution, there’s no reason to be talking about it.
Gossip Harms the Speaker and the Person Spoken About
Author and producer Rhonda Byrne explains that “Gossip seems harmless on the surface, but it can cause a lot of negative things in people’s lives. Gossip is not giving love. Gossip is giving negativity and that’s exactly what you receive back. Gossip is not harmful to the person who is being spoken of; gossip harms those gossiping!”
Not only can rumors and gossip harm the reputation of another, it affects the person spreading it. A verse in the Bible says it this way: “you are defiled by the words that come out of your mouth.” In other words, if you are constantly spreading rumors and unproven truths that hurt others, you are not only hurting others, you are tainting yourself.
Let’s teach our kids to think before they speak about others and help them understand the power our words can have on others, for bad or for good.