Today I had some extra time with the sixth grade class I was subbing for. So to use up the time, I instigated a game of telephone. Most of you have all played before. But in case you haven't: one person whispers something to the person next to them, they whisper it to the person next to them, and so forth until the end. At the end the person announces what is sure to be a jumbled mess of what was said at the beginning. I used this game to teach the sixth graders about gossip.
It is amazing to me the way people spread news. And as a female I see that we are the worst at it. Men are not off the hook...I have been witness to their gossiping. Most of the religious gossipers do it as prayer requests. But the Bible says in Proverbs 18:8 that, "The
words of a talebearer are as wounds, and they go down
into the innermost parts of the belly" When someone talks to us in private, as I explained to the sixth graders, you have two godly choices. The first one is to flee temptation. If you know you struggle with gossiping, don't let people confide in you. Be the first to admit you probably should not be told something. The second choice is to decide to not say anything. When someone tells you a burden, comes to you for help, or just needs to talk to someone about personal problems (which you should always give godly Bible advice); decide in your heart to not say anything. Keep it in your heart. We are to bear one another burdens not add to them. By praying with people we can help bear them up, but being a gossiper only adds to their burdens.
It was a good reminder, when the cute little tongue twister I told the first person ended up completely twisted (literally). The kids seemed to grasp the lesson, too. They laughed at first, but the serious expression on most of their faces as I explained about how gossip works the same as the game let me believe that some will think twice before telling.