By Greg Johnson
Dad, your brother and his family are coming over for dinner this weekend. Because he lives in another city, you only get to see him once a month or so. You both have kids that are the same ages, so it’s usually a pretty good time.
He arrives promptly at 3:00 P.M. on Sunday. Immediately all the kids go outside to play, and your brother and his wife exchange greetings with you and Mom. Going into the living room, both you and your brother suggest turning on the TV to watch some football. Mom and his wife stay in the kitchen to talk.
A couple of hours after having some snacks and soda, you have a great idea. Pizza! You both chip in and order enough for everyone—delivered. Since it’s a nice day, we kids eat outside. All of the adults chow down while watching the game.
The conversation moves toward your other siblings.
“Have you been to Gwen’s house lately?” your brother asks. It’s a mess. I was over there last weekend and it looked like a pigsty. I don’t think she’s cleaned her bathroom in about a year.”
“No, I haven’t been able to get over there in a while,” you reply. “She’s always been a little organizationally impaired.”
“To say the least,” your brother says, butting in. “I know she’s got it tough since her husband left her, but that doesn’t mean she shouldn’t try to be a productive part of society. She doesn’t work, she just sits around watching TV all day.”
“Hey, have you had a chance to play golf with Dan lately?” you say, trying to change the subject to your other brother.
“Oh, I’m worried about Dan,” he says. “Last month when I was there it didn’t sound too good between him and Karen. Real icy, if you know what I mean. You know, I don’t think he’s been taking the family to Sunday night services.”
“That’s funny,” you say. “I spent a few hours with him last week, and things seemed great. I can read him pretty well. I don’t think things are as bad as you think.”
Questions to Think On
• Gossip is hard to stop once it gets going. Would it be easy for you to change the subject if this type of talk started up, or do you sometimes like to hear it?
• When are you most tempted to gossip about someone?
• Someone once said, “It’s not good to start talking about other people’s problems if you can’t be part of the solution.” Do you agree or disagree with that?
• Why is gossip so bad?
What Does God Have to Say?
A gossip betrays a confidence, but a trustworthy man keeps a secret. Proverbs 11:13
A perverse man stirs up dissension, and a gossip separates close friends. Proverbs 16:28