Bella Vista Church of Christ

LIFELINES

04/25/2018

Harold Akridge

 

Gossip — And How We Stop It

 

  One of those most dangerous sins is that of gossip. The reason that is true is that it slowly but surely eats away at relationships.

 

  But, what exactly is gossip? We often only think of it as one thing: talking about someone behind their back. However, the word actually means something far broader. Interestingly, the English word “gossip” originally came from a positive idea. The Old English word was “godsibb,” and it came from the idea of one who was a godfather or godmother (see it in the word: god-sibbling?). As time went on, then, it came to mean, one in whom you could confide even secret things. Now, you begin to see where our word gets it meaning.

 

  However, the word started carrying a broader idea in the 17th and 18th Centuries, because it simply meant “idle talk.” In other words, “gossip” was simply talking about nothing that made any difference, and that included secret slander, but it was not limited to that.

 

  I would dare say that most–if not all–who are reading these words have been the target of gossip as we often define it, and it hurts! It slowly erodes trust. It eats away at reputations. It builds walls that are unnecessary. But, even besides that, it shows a lack of self-control, because, if  “gossip” simply means “idle talk,” it means that I just have to say something, even if that something does not make any difference!

 

So, how do we stop gossip?

There are two very simple steps.

Ready for this deep insight? Here you go:

 

Step 1: Stop listening to it.

Step 2: Stop doing it.

 

  That’s it! If one who is a tale-bearer has no one to tell those tales to, the stories end. And when we get control of our own mouths and stop idle chatter, there’s nothing to spread in the first place.

 

  I’ve been doing a lot of thinking and praying lately about gossip. The more I consider that it just means “idle talk,” the more I want to be sure that every word I say matters and makes a difference, and that I am not just running my mouth, or am just ready to hear any and every tale someone has to tell.

 

Will you join me in this silencing revolution?

 

  “But I say to you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment”(Matthew 12:36).

 

Submitted by

Harold Akridge