Nearly every day (work day, that is) a group of 5 to 7 guys gather down in our atrium for lunch. Most of the time it’s typical guy talk: sports, movies or just friendly banter. We’re all Christians and we share similar life and world views. However, lately I’ve noticed some of our conversation ends up being more like gossip and judgmental in nature. At one point it turned into a downright bashing of a former employee. Comments about how rude, disrespectful, and annoying Mark was. (Name changed to protect the innocent…) After a few minutes of this, someone, in a very poor imitation of Forest Gump, said, “Momma said if you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all.” Now, I don’t recall that being a quote from the movie, but it made a point. Turning to Forest, one of the Mark-bashers responded, “Tell me one positive attribute Mark has.” Forest thought for a moment and said, “He washes his hands before leaving the restroom.” Laughter filled the air.
Though I didn’t actively participate in the bashing, I didn’t do anything to turn the conversation either. So, I was just as guilty. Mark is certainly not the only one with faults. We ALL have them and I know that my faults could fill many a lunchtime bash or gossip-fest. I’m reminded of another old adage, “People who live in glass houses should not throw stones”.
Scripture is filled with instruction regarding gossip and unwholesome talk. Time for me to review those lessons.
Proverbs 26:20 – “Without wood a fire goes out; without gossip a quarrel dies down.”
Ephesians 4:29 – “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.”