Community-Building: Dousing the fire of gossip.
Saying the memory verse together at suppertime will imprint it on the hearts of your children forever.
A perverse person stirs up conflict, and a gossip separates close friends.
Oh, how tempting it is to talk about other people. Sometimes it is simply a news report--so and so is moving, or got a new job; sometimes it is telling something about someone that we think will make us look better than we really are; sometimes we pass on something that is not our right to pass on—it’s someone else’s story, not ours. Sometimes, when we want to hurt someone, we tell something we know will hurt, using gossip as our weapon of choice.
“Smart people talk about ideas. Common people talk about things. Mediocre people talk about people.” This quote (some attribute it to Eleanor Roosevelt) made me stop and think when I came across it. When we talk about people (gossip) we are choosing the lowest form of communication—people instead of ideas. I want to do better at this. How about you? One way to discipline ourselves and to teach our children is to add to our table conversation ideas as well as the details of the day. If it is hard for you to come up with something, look on the Internet for questions you can ask. Family Talk Faith Edition offers ideas for talking about faith (available from Amazon); and the newspaper is a great resource to find ideas for talking about current events.
When the wildfire of gossip reaches our doorway, let’s douse it with a bucket of water instead of pouring accelerant on it.
JUST THE FACTS
How well did you listen to the story?
Q. What does Cindy call Lucille and Julia?
Q. Who is the one who gossips and causes all kinds of misunderstanding?
Q. What happens while Liz and Grandpa are doing some yard work?
A. A fire starts in the leaves.
Q. What does Grandpa say the fire is like?
Q. How is a fire like gossip?
A. It starts up easily, but is hard to control and put out once it has started.
This question is meant to help the children develop a biblical understanding of God, who He is and what He does. The "answer" is not meant for parents to read to their children. Rather its purpose is to assist parents in guiding the conversation to this biblical understanding. We encourage you to use an open Bible in this conversation, building biblical literacy and well as a biblical theology.
Why does God condemn gossip?
Because it breaks the commandment of loving others, which in turn breaks the command to love God. We are not doing the loving thing for others or for God when we gossip. Consider James 3: 3-12. Here James describes the power of the tongue. In the light of this we are well warned to keep a close watch on what we say.