Thursday, September 16, 2010

The Twins

Have you met the twins, Gossip and Slander? They are often found together, hard to tell apart. These twins have destroyed families, marriages, churches, friendships and organizations.

Gossip - a person who habitually reveals personal or sensational facts.
Slander - false accusations on circumstantial or incomplete evidence.

Remember the gossip game we played as children.  One person whispers a sentence in another person's ear; and that person does the same to the next person, saying it only once. When the words get back to the first person, it is drastically different from the original statement.
Gossip normally contains a skeleton of truth; Gossip says you are guilty until you prove yourself innocent which can be daunting. Slander perpetuates the gossip based on circumstantial or incomplete information.

Be aware of the very loquacious person, who reveals personal information about others. This individual may be maliciously trying to damage the reputation of another.  It should send up a red flag that this person is a friend of the twins.

Let me give you some examples to demonstrate my point.
Michael (blue shirt) and Donald (red shirt) are standing in the parking lot having a heated argument.It is difficult to hear what the men are saying, but they are loud and animated. Michael walks away in an angry huff. Joan witnessed the exchange.
Joan went to Donald and asked, what was that about? Donald said, "Michael won't pay me the money he owes me for work I did at his house." Joan calls a mutual friend, Charlie and says,"Michael tried to cheat Donald out of money he owes him!"  Then Joan calls Michael and says," You ought to be ashamed of yourself  not paying Donald his money. You are so wrong." What has Joan done?  She has slandered Michael because she only has half the story and has spread gossip because Charlie didn't know anything about this situation.

Angela and her boyfriend Ivan are having problems. There is no communication, no sex and he doesn't take her anywhere. Angela suspects he is having an affair, but has no real proof. Angela feels hurt and offended by his behavior.  However, she has not talked to him about it. Instead Angela calls her best friend Gayle and talks about her boyfriend Ivan and asks her to keep between them.
As soon as Gayle hangs up with Angela, she calls her friend Rachel and says," Ivan is dogging Angela, he cut off the sex and ignores her. He probably screwing some stank whore. He's disgusting and Angela is a good woman."  Gayle also calls Ivan and says, "You are wrong for you are doing to my girl Angela. You just a dog."  What has happened here?

If you tell anyone else before you tell the offender, you are gossiping.  That is what Angela did. She told her friend Gayle before talking to Ivan about how she felt. If anyone else accuses the offender first it is slander. This what Gayle did, she slandered Ivan because she only heard Angela's side of the story. Gayle continued to  gossip and slander Ivan  because she called Rachael and told about it who knew nothing about what was going on. Can you see how easy it is to get caught up in gossip and slander?

Am I saying that it is wrong to talk about other people? Absolutely not. You need to exam what your motivation is for telling this persons business. Is it to damage their reputation? Asking for advice? Trying to help them? Are you trying to build yourself up by tearing them down? Are you trying to turn others against them?

It takes a lifetime to build close friendships, but gossip can destroy it in a day. The next time you are tempted to talk about the private affairs of others, ask yourself, "Am I being a gossip?"

Queen of Hearts

No comments:

Post a Comment