Taking a break from Bristow news to write about something that struck me this weekend, completely unrelated to our favorite girl (who never gossips:-). Funny enough, though, there is a link: Bristow was named after the character Sydney Bristow from the TV series Alias, which was Jennifer Garner’s breakout role.
Gossip. Feeling convicted about that ugly word. In a new way, at a new level.
The other day my husband and I were kicking back on the patio, and I began to casually chat
with at him about Ben and Jen (Affleck and Garner, respectively) and the end of their marriage. I started to relate something I read on People.com, and then stopped mid-sentence. Something caught in my heart, making the words stick in my throat. I had a simple-yet-profound revelation: This is gossip. Doesn’t matter if I know them personally or not. I am passing along information that has nothing to do with me, and it is information I do not know to be true. I am sharing what was written about them and their nanny in a gossip magazine. How is this helpful? How is this uplifting? How does this benefit me or anyone else? Does it matter that they’ll never find out and that I don’t know them personally?
The answer to the latter is, “Nope, but it sure makes it easier.”
I stopped short, and after he inquired as to what I was going to say, I replied, “I’m not going to say what I started to say because it’s gossip and there’s no need to share it.” He didn’t really care about the matter anyway, so it’s not like he was left hanging. And, honestly, I wouldn’t have cared if he were. I felt too convicted to continue.
I stopped gossiping, and instead I began praying. Praying for two people I didn’t know but to whom I felt marginally connected because I’ve seen their faces on screen and in print too many times to count. I prayed for wisdom and peace and healing and strength for them and their families. For their children’s hearts to be protected. For God to break through into their individual realities in a way that leaves them changed for the better and draws them closer to Jesus. In a way that eventually brings light and love and laughter and turns their mourning into dancing (Psalm 30:11).
I am now trying to avoid People.com. It’s tough because clicking to it has become a habit. It’s my little guilty pleasure. And, yes, they also post some non-gossipy articles and recipes and fashion tips. But it’s largely not helpful or edifying to my daily life. Meaning, it’s a waste of my time. And, how would I feel if my life were being written about in the ways others’ lives often are?
Basically, for me, it comes down to this:
“And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing: Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise” (Phil. 4:8, NLT).
“…They will learn to be lazy and will spend their time gossiping from house to house, meddling in other people’s business and talking about things they shouldn’t” (I Timothy 5:13, NLT).
“If you claim to be religious but don’t control your tongue, you are fooling yourself, and your religion is worthless” (James 1:26).
Yikes! I gotta get my act together.
Now please excuse me while I go delete the People.com app from my iPhone.
***For more scripture references on gossip, click here.
***I love following Humans of New York. I saw this one today after a friend shared it. I’ve never watched the show either.