The Ninth Commandment – Q&A #4

The Ninth Commandment
“Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour”

Question: What is “gossip,” and why is it wrong?

Answer: Gossip is useless talk about the private life of others. It is also what we call a person who spreads this mindless talk. Even if a gossiping person may not mean any harm, the
motive behind it can be unloving, and the story may become destructive when passed along
with misinformation.

You may have even played the game of “Gossip,” where one person starts off by whispering a sentence in someone’s ear, and then this message is passed along to others down the line. The laugh comes at the end, when the last message is compared to the first — usually they are miles apart in meaning. And that is just what can happen when you gossip about your friends. The message you start with may get twisted around, and when it finally reaches the ear of your friend (and you can be sure it will!), you have become the source of a rumor that may be far worse than the words you originally said. That is how many friendships break up.
The Bible warns:

“Thou shalt not go up and down as a talebearer among thy people.” (Leviticus 19)

“Where no wood is, there the fire goeth out; so where there is no talebearer, the strife ceaseth.”
(Proverbs 26)

Mary Baker Eddy even had a rule against gossip in the Christian Science Publishing Society:

“No idle gossip, no slander, no mischief-making, no evil speaking shall be allowed.” (Manual 81)

Practice: Today, turn away from any gossip you hear, and do not pass it along.

* * *
(Excerpted from “First Lessons in Christian Science, Volume One: The Ten Commandments”
Copyright 2001)

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False witness - #4


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