Whoever gossips hurts and destroys. I've seen gossip damage reputations and poison the spirit of a team. I've felt gossip's sting.
I attended an all-girls high school and lunchtime gossip in the courtyard was as natural as the mynah birds chirping in the trees. Gossip brings to mind the Hawaiian Proverb that observed, "Gossip is a god that destroys its keeper."
Famous gossip columnist Hedda Hopper once said, "Nobody's interested in sweetness and light." That woman destroyed careers and lives with her spiteful words.
Let's face it, we're only human and it is tempting to pass along juicy tidbits. But as respected Bible teacher Dr. Adrian Rogers explained, when passing information on that might be gossip, you must...
1. Ask yourself, Is it true? If not, do not pass it on. "The word 'honest' literally means honorable," Rogers said.
2. Ask yourself, Even if it is the truth, should you pass it on? Will it help anyone? Will it hurt?
3. Ask yourself, Is the information kind? Would it be better left unsaid?
"When you analyze it this way," said motivational speaker and writer Zig Ziglar in Something Else To Smile About (1999), "your chances of being a gossiper are dramatically reduced."
One can only hope. For more help, check out Words Can Heal, a national campaign to curb gossip and promote the healing power of words. I've taken their pledge to think more about the words I use.
As businessman Franklin P. Jones once said, "The best thing to do behind a person's back is to pat it."
What we say matters. Spread kindness.