I received a broadcast message on a group on my blackberry messenger.
The message was posted by a Christian acquaintance. It contained some juicy information about a common friend of ours…as in, really juicy.
Catch this: Ladies, guess what? I just saw Debra hanging out with this guy in Frosties. Omg!!! And they were in a compromising position. Isn’t she married? Nawaoooooo. And she will now raise up holy hands in church. Kaiiiiiii. The Lord has a way of revealing those of us who really know him, and those that don’t! Can u just imagine Debra”
My mouth is wide open.
I go further to read the reactions of other members of the group.
Member 1: I knew it. Hypocrite…that girl
Member 2: Why are u surprised? She looks the kind
Member 3: ohhhhhhh. Thank God im not that kind of Christian
Member 4: imagine. Church workeroooooooooooooooooooooo
Member 5: truly, God has a way of revealing those who really know him….
Blablablaaaaaaa. And my mouth is still open.
I raise my face from my blackberry and look at my friend who has been lying on my couch since yesterday, watching Lekki Wives.
Yes, I look at Debra…with my mouth still wide open.
Debra, the subject of our group ‘discussion’.
Debra, who is right now at Frosties with another man…but also lying comfortably on my couch with nothing on but her silly bunny night gown.
Of course, it came to light that the initial sender of the message heard it from someone who heard it from someone in the salon where another someone picked it up from. Yes dears, when the devil is not around to blame, blame SOMEONE.
So, while this message is false in all ramifications, it speaks volumes about the sender who spreads and justifies gossip in the name of the Lord.
The Apostle Paul puts gossip in context when he lumps it with other “wickedness” in Romans 1:29-30:
“Being filled with all unrighteousness, wickedness, greed, malice; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, malice; they are gossips, slanderers, haters of God, insolent, arrogant, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, without understanding, untrustworthy, unloving, unmerciful.”
Electronic gossip is only the latest form of a spiritual disease that runs rampant in our churches.
Nowhere in scripture are believers encouraged to speak about anyone behind their backs. We are enjoined to confront others lovingly when we have disagreements.
“If your brother sins against you, go and show him his fault, just between the two of you. If he listens to you, you have won your brother over.” (Matthew 18:15)
When in doubt, we might look to James 1:26: If anyone considers himself religious and yet does not keep a tight rein on his tongue, he deceives himself and his religion is worthless.
I believe that every word we utter should pass through “three gates,” each with a gatekeeper asking … a) is it kind? b) is it true? c) is it necessary?
We should try to replace words that hurt with words that encourage, enrich and engage.
In the past, what took the sting out of gossip was that it was impermanent, localized and would disappear with fading memories, now gossip is everywhere and permanent because the Internet doesn’t forget. Years ago, people who were picked on or gossiped about in high school could graduate, move away and start fresh. These days, the gossip follows them. It’s online forever.
As for myself, I won’t forget a story I read recently about a teenage girl going to a dance. “My mother was waiting for me when I came home,” she wrote. “But instead of telling her I had a great time, I regaled her with a scathing description of some incredible nerd who’d tried to dance with me. In essence, I said that this guy had a lot of nerve to expect anyone to dance with a person as weird and ugly as he was.
“When I finished my tirade, my mom said, ‘You know, this boy you find ugly and weird is some mother’s pride and joy. She waited for him to come home, just like I waited for you, hoping to hear he’d had a nice time at the dance. But when he came home, she saw his face, she knew someone hurt him, and it broke her heart. So the next time a boy asks you to dance, before you turn him down or make fun of him, just remember: Every boy is some mother’s son.’
It was a lesson in compassion. The lesson is simple “Treat everyone the way your mother would want everyone to treat you.” I trust my mum naaaaaa. She would ALWAYS want me to be treated like the princess I am (big grin).
Yes, we may need stronger laws to curb Internet gossip.
We may need leaders who can advocate for cultural restraint. But in the meantime, it can’t hurt to keep certain phrases and questions in our minds,nudging us toward kindness.
Lets all do ‘www.kindness.com’, yeah?