The words of a gossip are choice morsels; they go down to a man's inmost parts (v8).
Gossip is ugly but can taste delicious; gossip exposes and divides; it elevates and denigrates; it can thrill the hearer and devastate the owner.
For Christan's, gossip is a real and present danger. By definition, we value caring for, and sharing our lives with, one another. However, there is a fine line between us sharing news and us being gossips.
For those involved in the pastoral life of a church, walking this fine line is an even greater challenge. When does 'asking advice' or 'giving an account of the state of the flock' stray into gossip?
For me, I can never promise confidentiality, but neither do I tell my fellow elders every pastoral detail I am aware of. When with friends, I try to only share 'my news', or news that the 'owner' has already made public.
I can seem very complicated at times, yet a tender conscience and a desire to avoid gossip will prove worthy guides.