I remember hearing a story once about a woman who went to the priest and told him that she had the bad habit of gossiping.
He told her to get a pillow full of feathers, to tear it open, and then to let the wind take the feathers! Then she was to return to him.
When she came back to see him after fulfilling that task, he asked her to go and pick up those feathers! She replied that it would be an impossible task! His reply was that when she felt tempted to gossip, to remember it would be just as hard to recover the gossip as recovering those feathers!!
Gossip takes many forms. It can be speculation about possible actions or motives of others which we share with others. It could also be about known facts that we share with others about another person when they have no business knowing the information.
I remember the words of Jesus when a mob wanted to stone a woman caught in adultery and which, according to the law in those days, incurred the penalty of being stoned to death. They asked for His opinion, and He said, “Let the one without sin throw the first stone”. They all left!
There may be legitimate times when we need to share information about others. HOWEVER, we need to think and reflect about how appropriate it really is to do so. We need to be so careful!
With Facebook and other forms of technology, it is so tempting to just quickly send a message around with the click of a button, without enough reflection.
I am constantly saddened by stuff I read on social media and the papers, and what I hear people say about politicians and so many other people.
So often there is so little prudential and impartial reflection.
We are all familiar with the saying “mud sticks”!
Mud sticks even if thrown at the innocent! A person’s reputation can be permanently damaged by even a false accusation.
There are also many circumstances where it is nobody else’s business that a person has done something wrong in their personal life.
Sometimes, sitting in judgement of others can be a camouflage hiding our own wrong doings?
Sometimes, political, or other gain can blind us when we spread rumours and gossip about others.
Jesus told us not to judge. Only God can see the heart of a person.
Of course, there are times when we need to make judgements of the objective right or wrong of perennial values. The law courts need to make certain judgements, as do parents and those in leadership positions, or any of us, under certain circumstances. However, we need to be so very careful that we are motivated by integrity and virtue, and real respect for others in all our actions.