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anonymous asked [Friday, 19th June 2015]

QUESTION: "GOSSIP! What is gossip? How do you engage in it? How is it different from telling a story? What are the consequences? Do we have examples in the bible ? Is it different when husband and wife engage in In it together? How should we??? prevent it or prevent being drawn into it and the subtleties of it???? Do we have any avoidance strategies????Is it possible to talk behind someone's back and it not be gossip????"


Pastor's response...

ANSWER: "ABOUT GOSSIP The motive and intentions is what defines the act. In it's very basic form 'gossip' is a CONVERSATION between two or more people about a particular person, event or thing There is nothing wrong with a conversation, except IF, 1. it is unnecessary, or 2. used with intent to tear down, slander, malign or sow discord A conversation about a person or issue is not gossip if the conversations purpose is part of a process of seeking help e.g 1. if it stirs up prayer and agreement for the persons or issues 2. It it provides clarity to instruct people and enlighten them to act positively 3. If it is with the appropriate people, e.g accountability relationships like eldership, However it is gossip 1. If it is a manifestation of a an inability to control ones tongue (where it is driven by the soul and not good judgement) 2. If the people in the conversation are not concerned (do not need to know) nor in a position to act, or if there is a chance that releasing the information to them will rather cause damage Bottom line, when a discussion about a person or issue is 'idle' and will Not bring about any positive change (edification, instruction, information to act on) it is gossip. Rule of thumb, whatever is said 'behind' a person, we should be bold enough to say it in front of the person if necessary, if what we are seeking is change! However if what is being discussed cannot be discussed (if given the chance) with the parties involved then It probably should not be a subject of discussion! Mariam and Aaron despised Moses because he was their younger brother. They wanted a little bit of the attention he was getting, they were jealous of his prominence. Even though they were his seniors in age he was their senior in spiritual rank. They didn't acknowledge this in the way they approached the subject They took it upon themselves to attack his person and his position. Not out of a heart to correct or advise, but to despise and to challenge his authority (which was given and backed by God) They could have appealed to God about the issue and not become a law unto themselves They could also have advised him in a way that will not undermine his God given authority As we see in the case of Jethro, Moses father in law See Exodus 18:15-27 Gossip is idle talk, discussions seek solution! One could say there is a thin line between gossip and conversation because though the intent can be for change as it might have been in the case above, it was a justified topic for discussion but the word 'against' implied negativity. Or could we say their (Mariam and Aaron intent was wrong from the onset? "

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