People talkin’ ’bout you? Feeling besmirched? Feeling befuddled? Stumbling like a drunk through your day? Getting to the next thing all you can seem to handle? What’s next? Demands and to-do’s piled-up? …no contentment? Is “happy” gone?
besmirched: 1) damage the reputation of (someone or something) in the opinion of others. 2) make (something) dirty or discolored. Synonym: sully, tarnish, blacken, drag through the mud/mire, stain, taint, smear, disgrace, dishonor, bring discredit to, damage, debase, ruin; slander, malign, defame. Literary: besmear, smirch; -Google Dictionary
befuddled: make (someone) unable to think clearly. “he has an air of befuddled unworldliness”. Synonym: confused, muddled, addled, bewildered, disoriented, fazed, perplexed, dazed, dizzy, stupefied, groggy, muzzy, foggy, fuddled, fuzzy, dopey, woozy, befogged, mixed up; informal, discombobulated. -Google Dictionary
That is what gossiping can do to someone. The blurted words. “Sharing”. Telling a private thing. That “Well, I think…” moment. The piccadilly attitude that you can say whatever comes to mind – and let the chips fly where they may. Not a thought as to the impact around you because of your spoken thought.
I was at a church ceremony in Riverside (fictional data, but real life story) where a woman graphically shared her life story and ultimate repentance and coming to a saving knowledge of Christ. Genuine! Intimate, fresh, real, transparent. And then my ear was smacked by the quite audible comment from a lady sitting two rows ahead of me, “What a piece of work she is!”
Maybe it was an unguarded moment. Maybe she herself is struggling as the speaker had. But, that ‘piece of work’ comment was heard by maybe 10 people around her. And her words cut deep into the life of that speaker, tarnishing what others would think of her. Those careless words: smeared, disgraced, dishonored, damaged, debased, maligned, defamed… besmirched.
Ever been there, on either end of that?
The Apostle Paul really, really did not like gossip:
2 Corinthians 12:20
For I am afraid that perhaps when I come I may find you not to be as I wish, and that you may find me not as you wish—that perhaps there may be strife, jealousy, angry tempers, disputes, slander, gossip, arrogance and disorder;
Gossip is quite common in church, according to Paul, having to mention gossip so much. We gather a lot about gossip from these passages:
…be worthy of respect, not malicious gossips, but self-controlled, [thoroughly] trustworthy in all things.
Now at the same time, they also learn to be idle as they go from house to house; and not only idle, but also gossips and busybodies [meddlers in things that do not concern them], talking about things they should not mention.
But understand this, that in the last days dangerous times [of great stress and trouble] will come [difficult days that will be hard to bear]. 2 For people will be lovers of self [narcissistic, self-focused], lovers of money [impelled by greed], boastful, arrogant, revilers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy and profane, 3 [and they will be] unloving [devoid of natural human affection, calloused and inhumane], irreconcilable, malicious gossips, devoid of self-control [intemperate, immoral], brutal, haters of good, 4 traitors, reckless, conceited, lovers of [sensual] pleasure rather than lovers of God, 5 holding to a form of [outward] godliness (religion), although they have denied its power [for their conduct nullifies their claim of faith].
…are to be reverent in their behavior, not malicious gossips nor addicted to much wine, teaching what is right and good,
From these passages, I take it that gossip is related to all of this:
1. Gossip seems to grow out from a seedbed mixture of bad habits, bad attitudes, things that believers easily fall into, what Paul warns as “I may find you not to be as I wish“.
He suspects he will find believers full of “…strife, jealousy, angry tempers, disputes, slander, gossip, arrogance and disorder” (2 Corinthians 12:20) . Folks grow into a lifestyle where they accept all that as “just the way it is”. “I’m just this way.”
Maybe as one lets himself or herself “go”, one starts regularly allowing these bad attitudes to be common everyday… then it’s easier and easier to slander and gossip because one has become arrogant, disordered, conflictive, jealous, angry, and challenging, disagreeing with others all the time?
2. Being malicious
3. Not being self-controlled
4. Not being thoroughly trustworthy in all things
5. Often develops out of a lifestyle of being idle and jabbering “from house to house”
6. Being a “busybody” – you weasel yourself into the private life and matters of others
7. Meddling “in things that do not concern” you, things that are the lives of others, not yours [You don’t just weasel in, you then go on to meddle, mess with others!]
8. Unhealthy, uncontrolled talking – to the extent where you talk “about things [you] should not mention”
9. Again, gossip seems to be inside a whole mix of bad: 2 Timothy 3:1-5 “…people will be:
“…lovers of self [narcissistic, self-focused], lovers of money [impelled by greed], boastful, arrogant, revilers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy and profane,
3 [and they will be] unloving [devoid of natural human affection, calloused and inhumane], irreconcilable, malicious gossips, devoid of self-control [intemperate, immoral], brutal, haters of good, 4 traitors, reckless, conceited, lovers of [sensual] pleasure rather than lovers of God,
5 holding to a form of [outward] godliness (religion), although they have denied its power [for their conduct nullifies their claim of faith]. – 2 Timothy 3:1-5
How about you? Any of that ring a bell? Kind of feel uncomfortable with how some of that is …you?
We can turn to God in prayer, confess it all, repent of it all, and daily, moment by moment — yield our self to the Holy Spirit so He can empower us, free us — to begin new habits of love, new attitudes.
Soon we can look back and see a different trail, tracks of love – being and acting more and more from love, love for others like the 1 Corinthians 13 type of love.
Ready for THAT! Ready, set, go!
Bible references to “gossip“
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