Posts Tagged ‘Gossip’

Watch Your Mouth!

Posted: May 15, 2018 in Church, Gossip, Stories, Tongue
Tags: ,

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Recently it seems that I have either received or caused a number of pocket dials. You know, those times when your smartphone “reaches out and touches someone” at some awkward moment. Usually it’s someone you have recently called. For me that means it will be my wife, one of my children, my mother, or one of my brothers. At best such phone calls can be embarrassing–and at worst, it could cost you your job.

James Stephens discovered that a pocket dial late one evening cost him dearly. Stephens and his wife were at home one night complaining about his boss who overheard because James had pocket dialed him. The next day, James says he was given a choice: resign or be fired. He resigned. Now, he and his wife are suing, claiming that eavesdropping was illegal.

Stephens says that his former boss had a tendency to call him after hours quite a bit. After his boss called him at home late one night his wife Gina had something to say about the “intrusion.”  Unfortunately his boss overheard them talking for about 12 minutes before James realized he had pocket dialed his boss. He hung up immediately. However, it was too late. The next day Stephens was forced to resign his six-figure job.

The  Stephenses have sued James’s boss personally, claiming he had invaded their right to privacy with “voyeuristic eavesdropping (that was) felonious conduct,” However, they face an uphill battle. One legal analyst opined, “What we find here is someone who really believed he had a reasonable expectation of privacy in having a very, very confidential conversation with his wife and that yet, it may not be private at all.”

Centuries before any telephone existed, James wrote about the untamable nature of the tongue. “For every kind of beast and bird, or reptile and sea creature, can be tamed and has been tamed by mankind, but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison. With it we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse people who are made in the likeness of God. From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brothers, these things ought not to be so” (James 3:7-10).

The tongue is hard to tame, be careful in our communication, what’s done in private can be revealed in public.

 

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!