Friday, November 08, 2013

Can Gossip be Sharing GOOD News?

Every once in a while, I get asked if sinful gossip could be the sharing of good news behind someone’s back.

Perhaps a gossipy person is the first to tell a mutual friend’s happy news: an engagement, a new job, a new hairdo, something like that, in a way that scoops the “owner” of the news.

Being cheated out of getting to be the first to share your own good news can certainly be painful. I don't like it when it happens to me. (Though it's not nearly as painful as someone spreading bad news about me!)

I can see how this might fit into a biblical understanding of gossip in that “A gossip betrays a confidence, but a trustworthy man keeps a secret” (Prov 11:13). Any time we share a secret that isn’t ours to share, we could fall into the category of a gossip–even if the secret itself is good news.

I do think, however, that most of the time the secrets being shared by a gossip are shameful secrets–bad news about or for someone else. And even when the news item is positive, our twisting it to our own selfish ends like that can make it a kind of bad news, as well.

Whether it is gossip or not, it is definitely being a busybody to cheat our friends out of getting to be first to share their news, and in love we should resist the urge (2 Thess 3:11, 1 Tim 5:13).