Gossip is a short cut.
We’ve all been there. Men and women alike. We’ve all sat around at the dinner table and laughed at his stupidity. We’ve all waited for her to walk out of ear shot so we could bash her outfit. And you know what? We’re good people. We’re Christians, we go to church, and we lead Bible studies.
We know it’s wrong, but we do it anyway.
Gossip is a short cut.
- It’s a short cut to power
- It’s a short cut to healing
- It’s a short cut to intimacy
My hope is that in uncovering the shortcuts of gossip, we can take away the hold that it has in our lives.
Knowledge is power. That’s one of the most simple and fundamental truths of thought. If you want to be in charge of the bake sale, be the only one who knows how to organize a bake sale. If you want the power of being heard, be the only one who knows the juicy news. We are so hungry for power. And the more hungry we are for power, the more we will gossip to get there. Gossip is a short cut to power.
Being hurt hurts. But healing takes time and we don’t have that kind of time. We need to be okay right now. We qualify our own actions and berate theirs. And it is, of course, not efficient enough to do this on our own, so we bring other people in to affirm our complaints. The more we hurt, the more we need to feel better, and the more we gossip. Gossip is a short cut to healing.
And then there’s the issue of intimacy. We long for meaningful relationships, we strive to get “in” with our peers, and we desire to be known. There are two ways relationships form: one is finding similar interests, the second is finding common enemies. Gossip encases both of these. You find a common enemy in the person, people, or group of people that you insult, belittle, and cut down. This doubles as a similar interest because you find that you similarly enjoy doing it. It’s in the mutual disgust for “her shoes,” or “his political views,” that you begin to be known and form relationships. The more we desire intimacy in relationships, the more we gossip to get them. Gossip is a short cut to intimacy.
The building I live in is about 11 years old.It’s a nice, very well-kept building. But every time it rains, the ceiling leaks. And we’re not talking like “stick-a-popcorn-bowl-underneath” to catch the water, okay, we’re talking “stick-a-gondola-underneath” type of thing. Come to find, the reason for this is that 11 years ago when they constructed this building, they used pipes that were meant for a small, low-water-using building. It was reasoned that if these pipes were used, they could cut down on construction-time by several months. Well, this building is a dormitory that contains over 200 sinks, 200 showers, 200 toilets, and 5 full-kitchens. Now, 11 years later, they’re paying millions of dollars to re-pipe the entire building. I bet they’re wishing they didn’t take that short cut right about now.
The theme of the story of the pipes is the same theme of your story of gossip.
I don’t know if you lack confidence and need power, if you lack healthy processing and need healing, or if you lack deep relationships and need intimacy. But I do know that if you take the shortcut of gossip in any avenue of your life, your friendships, your well-being, and your heart will greatly suffer in the long-run. If you build something on foolish ground, it will fail. But if you build something on the Lord it will always stand firm.
So build the house of your relationships not on gossip, but on the Lord.
So be it.