Proverbs 16:28-30

A perverse person spreads dissension,
and a gossip separates the closest friends.
A violent person entices his neighbor,
and leads him down a path that is terrible.
The one who winks his eyes devises perverse things,
and one who compresses his lips brings about evil.

Without getting into the morals of Hollywood film producers and directors, I want to share with you today a clip from a Movie called Doubt. I do not necessarily recommend the movie. It just happens to have one of the best illustrations I’ve ever heard about Gossip. I was actually quite frustrated with the movie because it’s one of those that doesn’t give any resolution. And those drive me nuts.

However, all the politics of the movie and all movie making theories aside, watch the illustration from the movie.

I have remembered that illustration ever since I heard it. And I only watched the movie one time. But, just as the woman who cut the pillow can no longer gather up all the feathers and put them back in the pillow, we who gossip can’t gather all the places our gossip will travel. Once it’s out there, it’s gone. It will float away, never to be controlled again.

What we are doing with gossip is very risky. I don’t know why we gossip. I guess we do it to make ourselves feel better. Because by sharing the failures of others, we must be better than they. Regardless of the why, what happens with our gossiping is devastating. There have been many good men and women whose lives have been destroyed by gossip.

Some would argue that the destruction that comes on some is justified. And even then I would say, who are we to destroy the lives of anyone. Isn’t destruction saved for God and Him alone? Should we be about building up and restoring lives, not tearing them down? And what about those of you who take something that was shared in private and blab it to the whole world? That’s evil!

What happens when you share gossip? You take a little snippet of a big story and boil it down to a couple of sentences. There is a huge context of a story that the person you’re telling doesn’t grasp in its entirety. So they make a judgement based on a very small piece of the puzzle. Then they share it with someone who has even less of an understanding. And so on and so forth. Then, someday, one of the people who has heard the gossip, has an encounter with the person the gossip was about. And they are amazed at what really happened. How could the information they heard have been so wrong. So they walk away, and determine that that person must be a liar, because they know what’s really true.

Don’t be a fool. Don’t participate in the folly of gossip. We must be very careful with the words we share. Because, just as in this movie, the priest may or may not have been guilty. And the movie doesn’t tell us whether he was. But all that happens was that doubt was raised and he was a victim of gossip.