Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Gossip Mill (05/08/14)
TITLE: It's a Dirty Job
By Lisa Johnson
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The gossip mill is always open, twenty-four hours a day, three hundred and sixty-five days a year. It never closes. It never takes a holiday. It produces a variety of products, none of which have any constructive purpose or eternal value. Hurt feelings. Broken hearts. Damaged relationships. Destroyed reputations. These are just some of the commodities that are produced at the gossip mill.
The workers in the gossip mill are varied as well. They don't work for money. What they get for their efforts depends on their motivation for working there.
The malicious gossips spread rumors just for spite. They are mean-spirited, and do not care who gets hurt. Their words are sharp, like a knife, cutting to the very quick of their intended victims. Wounded spirits are just one by-product of their work.
The social gossips need to be the center of attention. They want to be part of the "in crowd." Having something to say about everything and everyone makes them feel like they belong and, in some cases, like they are in control. The information they impart is usually said in a light-hearted way, almost jokingly. There is no sensitivity regarding the effects of their words.
The insecure gossips, those with the least self-esteem, try to make other people look bad, so they can look good. They cut people down in order to build themselves up. . . so they can feel better about themselves. They can be sly in their manner, after all, they don't want you to think badly about them. They already think badly enough about themselves.
Don't think that working at the gossip mill is a strictly female profession. Men gossip just as much as women do. They just don't consider it to be gossip. Their impression of what they do in their "bull sessions" is not speading rumors, but just being informational. The effect is just the same. . . someone always winds up getting hurt.
Probably the worst gossips at the mill are the "pious" ones. They disguise their revelations in the form of a prayer request. You'll recognize them. They regularly season their gossip sessions with a generous helping of "bless her little heart." We all fall into this category from time to time, I think.
These gossip mill workers are in need of an inservice in common courtesy and compassion. They need a change in SOP, standard operational procedure, that limits committee participation to only those who are part of the problem or part of the solution. They need to be reminded of that old adage that says "if you can't say something good about someone, don't say anything at all."
The Bible has much to say about our words and how we use them. God condemns lying tongues, flattering tongues, prideful tongues, and a multitude of other verbal sins. The verse that best describes how God wants us to think, and therefore speak, is Philippians 4: 8. "Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable- if anything is excellent or praiseworthy- think about such things." If we would all cose to follow this command, we would find that the gossip mill just might have to close due to a lack of workers.
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