A Lesson on Gossip

Posted: November 10, 2011 in Church, Discipleship, Gossip, social media, Stories, Writing
Tags: , ,

The headline read “Ashton Kutcher Apologizes for Slamming Penn State Officials for Joe Paterno Firing.” Apparently, Kutcher has learned a valuable life lesson after blasting Penn State officials on Twitter for firing legendary football coach Joe Paterno. Kutcher had sparked a frenzy among his more than eight million followers late Wednesday after he tweeted, “How do you fird Jo Pa? #insult #noclass as a hawkeye fan I find it in poor taste.” (By the way, # before a word is a way on Twitter to make sure you get more hits on your feed. It’s called a hashtag in Twitter lingo.)

However, the actor soon admitted mouthing off in ignorance on the ongoing child abuse scandal in State College. Kutcher expressed shock and issued an emphatic apology after he discovered why the  longtime coach was dismissed. He deleted the previous post and then tweeted, “Heard Joe was fired, fully recant previous tweet!”  he added, according to the Los Angeles Times. “Didn’t have full story.  #admitwhenYoumakemistakes.”

Kutcher later deleted the series of messages, before  issuing a frank apology. “As an advocate in the fight against child sexual  exploitation, I could not be more remorseful for all involved in the Penn St.  case,” he tweeted. “As of immediately I will stop tweeting until I find a way to  properly manage this feed. I feel awful about this error. Won’t happen again.”

When we attempt to draw conclusions without having all the facts and pass those conclusions on to someone else, it’s called gossip. All scuttlebutt subject matters — no matter who or what it involves — has the same fundamental two-pronged goal. First, it’s intended to hurt somone. Gossip never builds, and it never helps anyone. The second goal of gossip is selfish in that the one who dispenses it either actively or passively seeks to elevate his or her position. This may mean that the individual sharing it wants the listener to think he or she is the source of important or valuable information.

Consider these references to gossip:

  • A perverse man stirs up dissension, and a gossip separates close friends (Proverbs 16:28, NIV 1984).
  • A gossip betrays a confidence; so avoid a man who talks too much (Proverbs 20:19, NIV 1984).
  • Without wood a fire goes out; without gossip a quarrel dies down (Proverbs 26:20, NIV 1984).

Ashton Kutcher would have done well to have not spoken (tweeted) until he had the facts, because he spoke before he had all the facts. However, as believers we can actually go a step further. Before speaking (or posting on any social media), we should ask, “Is what I am about to say going to help or tear down?” If it will tear down someone’s character, it violates biblical guidelines. Consider what Paul wrote to the church at Rome, We must pursue what promotes peace and what builds up one another (Romans 14:19, HCSB).

Let’s promote peace and build up one another!

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

w

Connecting to %s