Why is gossiping so easy? How many of us are partaking in it and think that we aren’t because we are “just talking?” The answer to that is most of us. I was just sitting with my sister talking about a personal family situation and without even thinking about it, I fell into gossip. The crazy part is that I really thought I was just giving her some good advice. It wasn’t my intention to gossip, it just happened and it wasn’t until I was done talking and was rehashing our conversation that I even realized what I had done.
Why is it so easy to fall into gossip? I wanted to understand gossiping more, so I could get to the root of it and see where I fall short, so I looked up it’s definition. Gossip is any kind of talk about someone who isn’t present and it’s most often something we think we can make a moral judgement about, whether it be to approve or disapprove the information. I also found an article in Time where they suggest that gossiping could have been a reason that our ancestors had survived and evolved because it was like grooming and it helped them bond and I was like, what? How? Then I read some more and they mentioned a professor named Matthew Feinberg who said, “when subjects heard about another person’s anti-social behavior or an injustice, their heart rates increased. When they were able to actively gossip about the person, or the situation, on the other hand, it soothed them and brought their heart rates down. The act of gossiping, Feinberg explains, “helps calm the body.”
How many times have you sat with a friend and they say ” I have to tell you something” and your heart begins to race as you anticipate the information you are about to hear? Then when they finally tell you there’s this weird euphoria. Feinberg is right. It does calm you down. It does feel like a moment of bonding. How insane is that? It’s rare that gossiping makes you feel uneasy and I believe that has to be the reason why it’s so easy to gossip, because as humans we crave belonging and feeling good. It’s a matter of our flesh taking precedence over what we know to be right, and it’s the posture of our hearts towards the person we are speaking about as well. There have been plenty of times when I feel the need to execute my judgement of some one I’m not fond of and all of a sudden my opinion becomes a “verdict” laced with poor judgement, but when I’m fond of someone I think twice about what I say and still fall short and that’s wrong.
So now that we know that the root of gossiping is our selfish flesh, what can we do about it? I’m glad you asked.
First, we must put our flesh to death daily. Not a physical one, but a spiritual one where we bring all of our thoughts captive to Jesus Christ and flee from temptation every time it rises up. Then we must think of others as more important than ourselves, understanding that we are called to love everyone just as Jesus loves us. We should also always seek to edify people with the words that come out of our mouths because like Proverbs 18:21 says, there is power of life and death on our tongues. Even if the other person can’t hear us, we should speak about others the way we would want them to speak about us. We do reap what we sow, right? Lastly, like the old saying says… if you have nothing nice to say don’t say anything at all.
I believe that if we can all be diligent about making these things a part of our daily life and interactions we will gossip less and eventually quit gossiping all together. Do we want to stop though? That is the question.
Until next time, you are love and have purpose.
Here’s the article about what gossip is scientifically if anyone is interested https://time.com/5680457/why-do-people-gossip/