I know you’ve met one of these—the church gossip who crosses boundaries by sharing information that is none of his or her business—usually under the guise of “this is just something for you to pray about.” Recently I rediscovered a story in my illustration file, and even though I don’t know who first suggested this tactic, I just had to share it with you. I think it is the perfect answer for how to silence a church gossip:
The church gossip and self-appointed arbiter of the church’s morals kept sticking her nose into other people’s business. Several church members were unappreciative of her activities, but feared her enough to maintain their silence. She made a mistake, however, when she accused George, a new member, of being drunk after she saw his pickup truck parked in front of the town’s only bar one afternoon.
She commented to George and others that everyone seeing it there would know what he was doing. George, a man of few words, stared at her for a moment and just walked away. He didn’t explain, defend, or deny; he said nothing. Later that evening, George quietly parked his pickup in front of her house—and left it there—all night.
I certainly don’t want to be a gossip, but I wonder how often I have listened to gossip and not challenged the speaker? I’m sure most of us do not spread gossip, but we sure enjoy listening to it. Why else would Entertainment Tonight be such a popular TV show? Guilty here! What is it that causes us to enjoy listening to other people’s difficulties?
“Listening to gossip is like eating cheap candy; do you really want junk like that in your belly” (Proverbs 18:8 The Message)?
I’d love to hear your thoughts on this. Comments? Questions? Gossip?
In Him together, Susan Gaddis