“Pick a little, talk a little, pick a little,
Talk a little, cheep cheep cheep, talk a lot, pick a little more”
You might recognize this if you have seen the musical, “Music Man”. This song is supposed to be a funny picture of several women looked at through the eyes of a man while they are gossiping. They are being compared to a bunch of hens and they should definitely be embarrassed by what we see.
We may laugh at these silly women, but have any of us been guilty of gossip? If so, then we have looked just as silly as these women picking on others, talking a little, or even a little more. What is worse is this isn’t funny at all. Women are often known to be gossips and I think that is true for almost every girl; I for one have been guilty of that at times, myself. My guess is that we are genuinely interested in what is going on in other people’s lives. But the problem is, that sometimes our concern can go too far and turn into gossip. Sadly, sometimes it is worse than that: the gossiper dislikes someone and wants to be mean.
1Timothy 3:11 says, “Women must likewise be dignified, not malicious gossips, but temperate, faithful in all things.” Probably all of us already know that it is not the right thing to get involved with, but we think that it is such a small sin, God will forgive me. But it is not a small sin. Think about how you used to play the game telephone and how it starts off with a phrase or whatever that person can think of, and when it gets to the last person, they say what they hear. It ends up completely different than what it started out as. Well, gossip is the same as that game. It starts one way, and comes out another way. But then we may think that it is just too much fun to give up.
James 3:8-12 says “But no one can tame the tongue; it is a restless evil and full of deadly poison. With it we bless our Lord and Father; and with it we curse men, who have been made in the likeness of God; from the same mouth come both blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not to be this way. Does a fountain send out from the same opening both fresh and bitter water? Can a fig tree, my brethren, produce olives, or a vine produce figs Neither can salt water produce fresh.”
This verse shows how terrible it is to pretend to love God while we make fun of His children that He loves! How can we think it is just a normal, silly thing that human beings do? Think about it, do we really want to give up our chance of getting to heaven over a hurtful thing like getting into other people’s business and talking bad about someone? It is pretty sad when you think of it that way.
One sure way to tell that someone is about to gossip was joked about again in the song I opened with. In the middle of the song the ladies say, “And the worst thing, of course, I shouldn’t tell you this but…” How many of us had heard that before, but have still listened? To tell the truth, we often want to hear the rest. We need to learn to resist this temptation.
I know a lady that when someone comes up to her and starts gossiping she immediately says something nice about that person. I have also heard of someone who walks away when they hear someone gossiping. So, I was thinking about these two wonderful examples and thought that when I hear someone gossiping about someone, I will try to switch the subject and say something nice about that person. Then if they keep on gossiping, then I will find a way to excuse myself.
But really, the even braver thing to do, if you are close enough to the person that is gossiping would be to try to explain to them that you are trying not to gossip and they will hopefully help you out, and they might even try to do the same thing.
The best thing that has helped me is to try to think about the person you are talking about. How would you feel if they came in and heard you talking? Put yourself in their shoes. God loves all of us! We should all try to think of others before we start talking about them. Psalms 34:13 says “Keep your tongues from evil, and your lips from speaking deceit. Depart from evil, and do good; Seek peace and pursue it.” If we do our best to say things that will lift people up instead of hurting them, we will never look to others like those silly hens again. And more importantly, we will bless our Lord and Father, as well as our brothers and sisters.
Abigail Warnes (age 15) is the fifth of nine kids and is the proud aunt of two nieces and waiting for one nephew to be born in June. Homeschooled by her parents, Jon and Laura Warnes, she attends Bear Valley church of Christ with her family. Some of her hobbies include decorating cakes and sewing.