Proverbs 16:28 "A froward (dishonest) man soweth strife: and a whisperer (gossiper)separateth chief (close) friends."In any broken relationship there are stages. Of course "the blame" stage is where a person's defense mechanism and their strategy is to exonerate themselves from any guilt which may be there. The reaction is to play the "blame game". This is especially noticeable in politics because it's a carry-over from relationships.
The mechanism for bestowing blame is gossip. Seldom are friends confronted face-to-face, but the opponents credibility is gradually mowed down by innuendo, assumptions, fact twisting, using events out of context and outright lying. The gossiper may even come to believe his or her own lies because they must do so to protect their own integrity or to prevent other relationships from going sour!
Gossip is merely discussing private details about another person's life. It may be perception, partial truth (partial falsehoods), truth or outright lies. Normally it's exaggerations and taking things out of context to belittle another person! The strategy of the gossiper is to minimize the threat, but some people merely gossip for the fun of gossiping. Sinful people often take pleasure from the shortcomings of others. However, a major reason for gossiping is to make another person look bad and is a tool in the toolbox for protecting the self!
Christians are expected to live righteous lives, but we fail often by sinning just like the bad people which we condemn! However, Christians don't want to be known as bad people. Actually we disappoint ourselves when we fail. The feeling of self-deprecation is shameful and guilt ensues. We either confess our sins or rationalize them away. Blame and gossip is the latter. It's actually immature and childlike because that's where we first learned such behaviors and tactics! "It's not my fault that I took the cookie. It was right there. My parents should have not left them there!".
In adult-life we've seen that even with our president and first lady (sic). Bill had sex and lied about it. Hillary's response was "It's the fault of right wing conservatives!" However, she was forthright with her transference, but with gossip we do that under the radar so others don't even have the chance of protecting their own reputations, thus truth is seldom forthcoming!
One of the most common tactics, especially when truth is against one, is for that person to name-call. We see that often with liberals. When truth fails to support an idea and logic is in jeopardy, then the name-calling and cursing commences. Some people do this so flagrantly and often that the name-calling commences before the argument begins. Name-calling is a strategy in gossiping. "That person is a deviate. That woman is a slut. That man is a creep!" Gossipers seek to destroy the reputation of another person by creating a false picture. "Surely that "creep" can't be right!"
Gossip seldom elevates another person. Gossip is most often destructive. Christians have a "Marie Barone-type" way of destruction (Everybody Loves Raymond sit-com). Her method is to utterly destroy Debra while smiling and complimenting at the same time. It's a concealed put down. Just like Marie Barone, Christians use that technique often: "Bless her little heart, but she shows her butt to anybody Let's pray for her." This often used method seems to be loving (bless her little heart), but is condemning (she shows her butt), then the gossiper exonerates himself (or herself) by offering a prayer. It's the gossiper who needs the prayer!
Romans 1:28 (ESV) "And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done. 29 They were filled with all manner of unrighteousness, evil, covetousness, malice. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, maliciousness. They are gossips, 30 slanderers, haters of God, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, (etc)"Gossipers and slanderers (written gossip) are right there along with murder, evil, malice and many other debased mental attitudes, yet Christians seem to love to gossip!
Christian, if this is you, your tongue needs to be tamed, but to tame the tongue the mind must listen to what's supposed to be in the soul!
James 3:7 (ESV) "For every kind of beast and bird, of reptile and sea creature, can be tamed and has been tamed by mankind, but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison."An untamed tongue is from uncircumcised hearts! One may claim to be a Christian, but gossiping gives away what lies within. It's nothing that Jesus can't fix, but before he does, one must be sorry for the gossip, repent and make restitution. Part of repentance is making things right with the one you have wronged! It's loving them as you would want to be loved. Love changes things! Love fixes gossip.