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Gossip or Gospel

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…but no one can tame the tongue; it is a restless evil and full of deadly poison. James 3:8

I have an acquaintance by the name of Tasha.  In the past year I’ve lessened my contact with her.  Tasha is a lover of gossip and she spreads it around like peanut butter.  She also happens to know Eliza and her family very well because they grew up in the same neighborhood for 15 years.

Not only does she know Eliza, she also knows my husband because he attended the same junior high school as Tasha (and Eliza).  Tasha, my husband, and I attended the same high school.  Therefore we know many of the same people.

A few years ago I actually looked forward to the juicy tidbits of information because it validated my opinion that she was a crazy, hateful, spiteful person.  I relished hearing “dirty” details about her.  Tasha was the resident expert on all things Eliza.  And sure enough what ever Tasha reported usually turned out to be dead on–give or take a few embellishments!  

But now I am relunctant to listen to stories about Eliza.   It takes away from my character and keeps me stuck in the past.    Gossip is a real trouble spot for me.  Even the listening part is not as harmless as it appears.  It’s almost as if Tasha wants me to keep the bitter feud with Eliza going.

When the kids came to live with us, Tasha was apalled at my peacable attitude about the situation.  She could not fathom why I would help raise her children after the many acts of terrorism Eliza had performed.  She was disgusted at the notion that I was willing to interact with her at all.  Of course, she was not shy about telling me this!

Her attitude was so poisonous that I stopped talking to her for six months.  I really could not deal with the negative vibes that were spewing from her.  This past April Tasha called me.  Not recognizing the number on the caller ID, I answered the call.  Immediatedly she wanted to know why I had stopped talking to her.

And because she does have a few endearing characteristics, I gave in and talked to her for a spell.  I was disappointed.  Even though I told her why I stopped accepting her calls, she was on the same wavelength as before.  She couldn’t wait to tell me that Eliza’s nephew’s mom and former best friend now dates (of all people) her brother.  Tasha was determined to sully my mind with her rancid talk about Eliza and others.  Listening to her made me realize that I was too old to be engaging in such minutia.  Plus, my grandmother always said a dog that brings a bone will carry a bone!

Gossiping is a dangerous game.  Why not spread gospel instead?  Sometimes gossip is rooted in truth, but I have come to find that usually it is a matter of opinion.  I was reminded of the old adage Just because someone said it doesn’t make it so.  Therefore, the next time you are faced with listening to someone gossip, just ask yourself, is it the gossiper’s truth or the gospel truth?