Jackie Angel talks about gossiping, why it’s so wrong, and how to avoid it.
There are two main reasons why we tend to gravitate towards gossip:
- It makes us feel better about ourselves.
- We like to know information about what’s going on around us, and knowing secrets makes us feel special.
Regardless of how tempting it can be—and how harmless it often seems—Scripture has quite a bit to say about gossip and how destructive it is (James 3). Often the sin rooted beneath a love of gossiping is pride, which longs for ways to assert itself over those around them. In gossiping, we are putting others down or spreading knowledge about them in the hopes that it will make us feel or look better in comparison.
And even if it doesn’t start as something malicious or mean-spirited, like it says in James 3, one comment can start a chain reaction and lead to a much bigger rumor or false account of who someone is. Our mission in life as Christians should be to love our brothers and sisters as ourselves, and if we wouldn’t want certain information going around, chances are the person we’re gossiping about wouldn’t want it either.
Some ways to stop this temptation to engage in gossip is to think of these things before you speak:
- Remind yourself that this person that you’re talking about is a child of God.
- Ask yourself if you would say these things to this person’s face.
- Ask yourself who you’re telling this information to: are you telling everyone around you, or just confiding in someone close to you?
- Ask yourself if you would like this person to be talking about you the way you’re talking about them.
- Discern whether this is something you can talk to them directly about.
When we gossip, oftentimes we are engaging in some type of false witness against another, so it’s important that we take these mistakes to confession and ask the Lord for his forgiveness. It’s also important to ask ourselves why we gossip and get to the root of the sin. This will help us avoid near occasions in the future and create healthier relationships with those around us.
If you want more from Jackie (and Bobby, and Fr. Mike Schmitz) about discerning your actions, definitely check out Pray, Decide, and Don’t Worry, their discernment guide.
Meet Jackie and Bobby Angel
Jackie Francois Angel is a full-time worship leader and speaker. Bobby Angel is a campus minister and theology teacher at a Catholic high school. Married in 2013, they have four beautiful children and strive to grow in holiness each day!