The other day, during a brief phone conversation with my daughter, I did something no parent should do in the presence of their child.
I compared someone unfavorably to someone else.
And my daughter rightly called me on it.
First of all, there was no need at all to make that comparison. I could have said the positive thing about Person B without bringing Person A into it at all.
But she went on to tell me that she’d been to a blood drive at our church just before leaving for college, and “everybody there was talking down about Person A. And this was at the church! People at church are not supposed to be doing that!”
She’s absolutely right, and she’s right to be bothered that people at a church event were gossiping, and she’s right to be bothered that I was gossiping.
I’m not about to set sins up in some kind of hierarchy, but gossiping does affect 3 people:
- the person doing the talking
- the person doing the listening
- the person being talked about
And honestly, there’s no defense for it. There is just no good reason to speak ill of others.
It sure is tempting sometimes, though, to join in a conversation where someone’s reputation is being bashed.
Get thee behind me, Satan!
What could I do instead?
- Bring up a good thing about the person being gossiped about
- Change the subject
- Just not bring it up in the first place–say the good thing about Person B without bringing Person A into the conversation at all
I hope that in the future I’ll be able to do better: not to give in to the temptation to gossip and to set a better example for my children.