Monday, August 17, 2015

"Pass the Salt." Corrie ten Boom on Gossip

In her excellent little devotional, Not Good If Detached, Corrie ten Boom has a chapter dedicated to resisting gossip.

It starts with this epigraph:

"It is just as bad to be drunk with gossiping as with liquor. Gossip is the most insidious of all the compensations for an inferiority complex. It is not only a sin—it is paranoid."

Then as the chapter progresses, ten Boom tells the story of how a group of students at a Summer camp learned together how dangerous and destructive gossip could be and strategized on practical ways how they could resist it:
I tell them how years ago in a girls’ summer camp the atmosphere was almost spoiled by the campers because of their negative talking about
each other. So we made a camp rule that before saying something
negative we had to mention ten virtues of the person concerned. Sometimes it was impossible to find ten virtues, and so the negative thing could not be told. In the event of being able to find ten virtues, we would be so impressed at having done so that it seemed a pity to mention the negative at all!
One student tells us that in her campus, if anyone gossiped during meals, someone would say, “Pass the salt.” That was the code words to warn people that gossip was abroad. This idea is very simple and practical.
I like that--"pass the salt." Not to exclude people but to have a community-level agreement to lead conversations into loving territory.


Note: Not Good If Detached is published by CLC Publications, the publisher of Resisting Gossip.