Does it occur to us that we might be gossiping about family members?
Does it count as gossip when it's family?
What about when talking to our husband?
I was thinking about this, and seeing that gossip can turn an entire group against a person.
Gossip in a family does the same thing, turning an entire extended family against one person in the family. I've seen it happen. I'm seeing it happen.
Sometimes we think of it as different somehow when it's within family. I'm not sure why, I can't say I've been perfect in this regard myself. But I'm saying, it's not innocent just because you're blood related to the person.
And talking to your husband? No different.
Gossip can drive a wedge between your husband and your family. The husband wants to protect his wife, so when she comes to him with complaints about her family, he feels angry. It makes him angry at your family, and there are consequences.
Gossip reinterprets motives, ascribes thoughts and feelings to the person's actions that may or may not be true. Gossip can turn someone already partly isolated into a permanent family outcast.
Tragically, often the one being gossiped about doesn't even know what's happening until it's too late, and doesn't know what to do about it anyway.
Suddenly they get the cold shoulder, they're the one no one seems to be talking to, family members seem to be talking about things they don't understand anymore, or they get harsh reactions over what they thought were little things. They didn't know it was something that needed solving until it had grown out of control.
And how is it solved?
Gossip takes Jesus' model of resolving conflict (Matthew 18), and throws it all out of whack.
The gossipers are all offended...only it's over something they heard, rather than something done to them. Plus, if they try to approach the person, they've immediately outed themselves as having indulged in gossip in the first place.
The one being gossiped about usually doesn't know who to approach...or if they do, it's only resolving one relationship. How does she heal the many relationships that were damaged? How does she even know who they all are?
What do we do about this?
How can a family be healed from the effects of gossip?
I don't know.