I had a recent situation in which information was said about me to another person, and that information was misunderstood. The receiver of the message then passed on the information to a 3rd person, information that they did not verify, information that was totally untrue.
By the grace of God, the 3rd person to receive the message asked me about the issue. By disclosing what was actually true, I easily cleared up the situation and it was apparent that the gossip was untrue. I repaired the damage to my reputation and character.
However, if I wasn't able to clear up the mistruth, the content of the gossip was such that my reputation would of been damaged, and damaged severely. I wonder how many people this second person told the mistruth to.
That is the problem with gossip. So many people spread mistruths about others, damaging their reputations, actually murdering their reputations, because often the lie is never cleared up, and forever leaves a mark on that person that was never justified or deserved.
Why do people gossip?
I have a theory.
I have met so many individuals who are actually so unhappy with themselves, sad to say, and have such low self-esteem, that they have developed the habit, conscience or not, that they routinely find fault in others in an attempt to make themselves look and feel better.
I don't mean this to be a negative or derogatory statement but rather a fact.
Why does this happen? Probably for a variety of reasons, related to internal factors and external factors.
So how does one fix this problem?
It first takes a huge act of humility, in the sense that the person needs to admit to themselves that they have been a culprit in regards to this type of behavior (Which I must admit, I have not been immune to as well).
Then the person should develop a plan of action in regard to truly identifying who they really are, especially in the eyes of God.
God has made each and everyone of us unique and individual. We should never get caught in the trap of comparing ourselves to anyone else, because we are not like anyone else, we are unique and have a unique purpose here on earth.
The best way to learn about ourselves is to ask the creator to show onto us who we are and what our unique purpose is.
How do we do that?
I would suggest that we devote (1 hour a day) to prayer, to quiet prayer, if front of the Eucharist if possible. Spending time with God (Jesus) will allow us to see through the lies and mistruths and identify the truth of ourselves in the very presence of truth itself (God).
I rarely see a person who devotes an hour of prayer a day caught up in gossip and destructive behaviors, more so the opposite, those individuals posses a peace and joy within them that is apparent at least to me, that the source must be from God himself.
Many people have become desensitized to the evil effects of gossip because it is epidemic in our society, however, one brief encounter with gossip can murder the reputation of an individual for ever.......
I think of the commandments "Thou Shall Not Kill" and "Thou Shall Not Give false witness."