What is the phrase you remember hearing from when you were a little kid? Remind? brothers, sisters, parents, grandparents and teachers all said it the same. You may have been nearly knocked unconscious by another sibling or a neighboring child, or you may have seen them do it with another child. But when you ran to tell it, you heard those familiar words: “Don’t be such a gossip. Just go and play.” Meanwhile, the one who would have been denounced if you had been allowed to speak went on his merry way ‘making up’ with his actions. And no doubt they easily repeated the offense on another occasion, and another. All because being a gossip was not considered acceptable behavior.
There are extremes in almost everything, of course. But our general concept of the negatives of being a gossip is well described in Amanda Rock’s book. Dealing with a Tattletale.
In it, she reminds us of the many pleasant events that indicate that a child has become a preschooler, and others that are not so wonderful. “Ask any parent of a preschooler,” writes Rock, “and chances are high that gossiping tops the list. Dealing with a gossip is never fun.” We almost always think that being a gossip is a negative act is not appropriate behavior.
And it is true that, whether it is something insignificant or an important event, no one is safe with a child. They tell it all! But, as Rock writes, there are times when gossiping can have a silver lining. However, we may not always think so when we are listening to what is being said about us.
As annoying as gossip may be, we should want to know that our children have come to understand what is right and what is wrong. And often, by listening to your reports, we can better understand your thoughts on a certain topic.
However, it is generally thought that gossiping is annoying and bad. So, as time goes on, we reach adulthood. And as we get older, we learn to accept the fact that it is bad to be a gossip. Then we resolve our own conflicts. We just ‘let’s play’. In other words, we learn not to upset anyone in authority. We deal with it, or we ignore it.
Today, we call our ability to refrain from gossiping as “politically correct.” However, crimes that go unreported are often not just a minor thing for children. Such political correctness can often fuel the chances that large numbers of people will be horribly abused or seriously injured, and even killed. We hear reports of this type in the media regularly. The people who might well have prevented the horrible offenses had simply approached it ignoring all the obvious that it should have been reported to an authority.
However, it must be a bad thing to be a gossip, and political correctness must be a good thing because, after all, we have listened to it for so long. And most of the time we believe what we have heard over and over again. Edmund Burke (1729-97), an English speaker said, “If an idiot told you the same story every day for a year, you would end up believing him.” And the poet George Crabbe (1754-1832) describes the results as: “a habit with him was the test of the truth; it must be correct, I have done it since my youth.”
Think about it. How many things do you do or say today that started years ago with a simple slip or just a quick impulsive act? However, no one confronted you about it. So soon you did it again. Then, as time went on, he did it over and over again. Until you finally never thought twice. Your little voice of conscience was totally silent about it. Now … ‘Habit with you is the test of the truth. It must be fine, you’ve done it since your youth. But what if someone who heard you or saw your little action had been told? And you had been forced to stop and think. How different would your life be now?
So is being a gossip, or what we adults refer to as politically incorrect, really a bad thing? Or have we been tricked into creating a lie?
Miriam-Webster online says that a gossip is simply an informant. They report what they know about a particular crime.
On the other hand, Wikipedia states that political correctness (commonly abbreviated as PC) is a term that denotes language, ideas, policies and behavior that are considered to seek to minimize social offense in gender, race, culture, sexual orientation, disability and age . related contexts … Someone who is being politically correct downplays the facts in any report they give about a crime.
So what is really behind our wanting to be so PC, always seeking to minimize some social offense …? Or rather, reporting all the cold and hard facts as we did naturally as children. It could be that the main reason is that we are simply living the lie that has been instilled in our senses since childhood. What is unacceptable and wrong to be a gossip? That being a gossip only shows immature actions that are seriously frowned upon?
To know the truth about any behavior, we only need to seek the wisdom of the Bible. Solomon wisely said: if you receive my words and hide my commandments with you … then you will understand justice, judgment and equity; yes, every good way … Discretion will keep you, understanding will keep you. Proverbs 2: 1, 9, 11.
We can learn discretion and the good way in the Word of God. When we hide it in our hearts, it will tell us in our spirit if something is good or bad, even when it comes to the subject of complaints. And one scripture that seems to address gossip is Hebrews 3:13: … exhort each other every day while calling Today; so that none of you will be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.
Several very important things could be discussed here, but some relate specifically to this topic.
# 1, We must ‘deal with’ the conflicts we encounter; We must discuss the crime with the offender.
# 2, We must do it every day; We must address the problem as soon as possible.
# 3, It is important to do so because their thinking that they are ‘coping’ with sin can be misleading.
For example: the boy who was about to knock him out, or who saw another boy do it, went on his way happily thinking that he was getting by with his action. All because whoever you reported to him believed gossiping was bad. The results: the offender was duped. So over time, he did it over and over again. Until soon his actions became his norm. It became his habit. And habits, unless we recognize them and break them, tend to stay with us for life. So we must address it by talking about the offense to the offender.
But what if they disagree and choose not to stop what they are doing?
In Matthew 18: 15-17, we find an answer. Also, if your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault between you and him alone: if he listens to you, you will have won your brother. But if he doesn’t listen to you, take one or two more with you, so that two or three witnesses confirm every word. And if you don’t hear them, tell the church; but if I do not listen to the church, let it be to you as a pagan and a publican.
In the example, the offended child who was pushed or pushed, etc., must first ‘exhort’ the offender. But if the offender does not show remorse and changes his action, the child then must gossip to the parents – who would take action – lest the offender be deceived into believing that his sin is right. If the offender continues with the wrong actions, the parents should accuse the authorities, etc. (Of course, a child should be taught the differences in types of crimes, knowing that there may be some that need to be reported immediately. Example: If a child sees another child playing with matches in a closet or bedroom, do not now is the time to exhort him to “please put away the matches.” Time to gossip!)
So it seems like being a gossip can sometimes be a good deed. In fact, a proper understanding of being a gossip can lead to a better understanding of our responsibility as a person. Because God doesn’t just provide us with a conscience to help us make good decisions. He also gives us relationships with family, friends and, as Christians, makes us part of His Body of Believers. As such, we must properly address and treat offenses, but in 1 Corinthians 8:13, we learn the importance of all our actions. Paul talks about how we don’t do anything that might offend our weakest brother. We can offend someone with our words or with our bad example. But also, we can offend if we do not warn someone (who at this moment is the weakest) that he is involved in the error, who then deceives himself in his sin. Wouldn’t we try to prevent someone from falling off a cliff? It may be that, in the end, the one who is not being warned and the resulting deceptive habit of sin is much more crippling or damaging than if he had fallen off a cliff.
This may be more important than we have realized. Because we also learn, in I Corinthians 12:26, that when one member suffers, we all suffer. In other words, we are very responsible to each other, as well as to God. Because our actions or inactions could, over time, have long-lasting effects on many people.
A child who grows up hiding offenses from a sibling or someone else for fear of being dubbed a gossip may develop the habit of hiding far more serious offenses from others or from himself.
Talking about our offenses to each other and to each other is part of becoming a mature and responsible person. But reporting (reporting) to a person in authority can also be very important and can sometimes become the absolute and good responsibility of each person.
We must be ‘our brother’s keeper’. We must be responsible partners with each other, … exhorting each other every day, so that we are not deceived by the deception of sin. And while it may not be considered politically correct, it is good to be a gossip. © copyright 2010