Sunday, March 20, 2011
The Kibosh on Gossip
It starts out easy enough..."I just wanted to ask you to pray for "so n so" because of this "reason"...and then before you know it...."it's probably because of this n that or the other thing" and then it becomes full-fledged unabashed slander. Webster defines gossip as, "idle talk of rumor, esp. about the private affairs of others." Although the catechism never uses the word gossip, it does say “2477: Respect for the reputation of persons forbids every attitude and word likely to cause (someone) unjust injury." When I read guides for examinations of conscience, it lists gossip under commandment #5..."Thou shall not kill."....ouch! Is it like murder to ruin someone's character based on judgemental thoughts? The bible says,"Whoever slanders his neighbor in secret, him will I put to silence; whoever has haughty eyes and a proud heart, him will I not endure." Psalm 101:5 I can't count the times I've slipped down this slope...much to the detriment of my soul. I realize that if I really want to go to Heaven, I have got to start doing what is necessary...why do I slip?? Often, it's because, when I talk about someone else's "issues", it makes me feel like a better person....I can say that when I gossip, it usually stems from jealousy or envy...or both and my own feelings of inadequacy. I heard someone once ask, "Could you still say what you were going to say if that person were standing there?" How many conversations that I have had, could I say yes about??? " We are called to love each other and to protect each others' names and honor. "He who covers over an offense promotes love, but whoever repeats the matter separates close friends." Proverbs 17:9 I guess it all boils down to loving. "Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.Where there is hatred, let me sow love. Where there is injury, pardon. Where there is doubt, faith. Where there is despair, hope.Where there is darkness, light. Where there is sadness, joy. O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled, as to console; to be understood, as to understand; to be loved, as to love. For it is in giving that we receive. It is in pardoning that we are pardoned, and it is in dying that we are born to Eternal Life." Amen.