As sinful human beings, we often take pleasure in sharing rumors or sensational news in an effort to appear more “in the know,” or to be appreciated for the information we provide. Some people consider such talk to be nothing more than catching up on the latest news. What it is, however, is gossip. Those who have been the subject of gossip know the damage it can cause.
Words can hurt with an emotional pain that can be as long-lasting and harmful as physical injury, maybe worse. When insulting comments are made to our face, we can defend ourselves against the accusations. But when cruel comments are passed along without our knowledge, great harm is done.
The Eighth Commandment includes gossip when it tells us, “Do not bear false witness against your neighbor.” If we truly love our neighbor as ourselves, we will speak well of our neighbor and explain her actions in ways that are kind and affirming. If we love our neighbor as Jesus commands us to do, we will reach out in care and concern. We honor our God and our neighbor by respecting her confidence as sacred.
Don’t give in to the temptation of gossip.
This message was adapted from “Gossip: A Matter of Self-Control” written by Kathie Bender Schwich that first appeared in the May 2006 issue of Lutheran Woman Today (now Gather) magazine. Today is the second Sunday after Pentecost. The readings today are Genesis 3:8-15; 1 Samuel 8:4-11 [12-15] 16-20 [11:14-15] (semicontinuous); Psalm 130; Psalm 138 (semicontinuous); 2 Corinthians 4:13–5:1; Mark 3:20-35.