Before I write about the fun stuff – recipes and memories from wonderful family holidays – I would like to share a few thoughts about gossip. This post is prompted and inspired by the current political campaign for the presidency, and from personal experience of being a recipient of harmful gossip.
In a post from June 17, 2015, I wrote about the dynamics of gossip and the damage malicious gossip causes. In my personal experience, I have been the subject of harmful gossip from a relative for many years; most of that time I was completely unaware of the gossip. Approximately 9 years ago I was told about this on-going gossip by the other relative involved in the gossip. She decided to act upon some of what she had been told. Make no mistake, she knew what she was doing. The subsequent damage was so extensive and encompassing that permanent estrangement has resulted.
This years’ political season has resulted in the most mean-spirited, manipulative, and dishonest rumors and gossip I can remember. Regardless of who wins the presidency, the damage to our country’s sense of dignity, unity, and integrity has been severely harmed. It is painful to hear the profoundly dishonest gossip and rumors being spread by one candidate. Make no mistake, he knows what he is doing.
Even if you are not a religious person, you probably understand the reasons why gossip is considered a sin. The reasons are intuitive. When we gossip, we know exactly what we are doing – and that is a large part of the damage.
If I have learned anything from this political season, and from my own experiences with gossip, it is that we alone are responsible for our thoughts, actions, and intentions. Think before you speak. If you can’t control yourself, if you feel you really must say something harmful about a person, at least be choosy with whom you gossip. But before you start to speak, think about how you would feel hearing something harmful said about you – especially when it is a lie.
Think before you speak. It isn’t difficult.