Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Gossip-Free Zone

A man who bears false witness against his neighbor is like a club, a sword, and a sharp arrow. —Proverbs 25:18

In some offices, you can get fired for gossiping. According to a 2002 survey, the average employee gossips 65 hours a year. One Chicago firm decided to become a “gossip-free zone.” They require that employees never talk badly about co-workers behind their backs. If you’re caught, you lose your job.

A ministry for people in the entertainment industry takes a refreshing alternative to gossip. They combat it with prayer. Instead of putting down famous people who get in trouble with bad choices, they encourage people to pray for them.

Among God’s commands to His people is “You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor” (Ex. 20:16). While this may be talking primarily about lying at judicial proceedings, gossip could also be included in the command because it violates the law of love toward our neighbor. Proverbs uses strong language to describe this use of our words. It’s like “a club, a sword, and a sharp arrow” against others (25:18).

Gossip feeds into our natural desires to feel superior to others and to belong or fit in, so combating it in our personal lives can be a challenge. But if we choose to love through prayer, our lives can be a gossip-free zone. — Anne Cetas

Lord, forgive us for speaking carelessly
about others to make ourselves look better.
Help us to think before we speak. Teach us
to be loving with our words. Amen.

You can never justify gossip.

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