Saturday, 18 April 2009

Proverbs 18

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.

2 comments:

irene m said...

Always an area where we all need a lot of wisdom

Karen said...

I've always defined it that if somebody tells me something, I automatically consider it a confidence unless they've either made it clear it's OK to share with others, or if they themselves are declaring the information about themselves publicly. Even then I tend to keep it to myself as it's down to them who they tell and when.

The problem I encounter is when two 'sides' both confide in me. Then they realise I've had the other side confide in me and I've been accused of being a gossip when I've said nothing to the other 'side', because they've assumed I have. It's incredibly frustrating and at times hurtful. People often assume that because you're listening to both sides, you're automatically talking too.