A perverse person stirs up conflict, and a gossip separates close friends. Proverbs 16:28
Neither Lois nor Lance would look at each other, or their lawyers. Fifteen years of marriage was ending in a cold courtroom with even colder hearts. Nothing was left of the passion, trust, and hopefulness they once shared. There had been no infidelity, no bankruptcy, and no abuse. However, intimacy had been sucked out of their marriage by an enormous vacuum cleaner called gossip. Lois wouldn’t stop confiding intimate secrets to her family and her girlfriends. To retaliate, Lance had divulged her secrets to the guys in the shop. It had been small indiscretions at first. But even after each had pleaded for privacy, set boundaries, and threatened divorce, neither seemed willing to control their tongues. Little by little, gossip created a crevice in their marriage that, over time, had become the Grand Canyon.
Healthy relationships are built upon the twin pillars of trust and respect. Without those in place, neither a friendship nor a marriage can thrive. Intimate friendship is a treasured gift, rare in its occurrence and priceless in its value. When we have been handed such a gift, we should hold it in reverent hands. Proverbs warns us that the very act of confiding someone’s secrets to outsiders is the path toward separation from that person. Gossip is not the seeking of wise counsel with someone who can be part of a solution. Gossip is the selfishly-motivated divulging of something that is not ours to share. The hearts—and the secrets—of the ones who trust us should be safe in our hands and far from the gossip fire.