Is "Sharing" Really Caring?

Susan Narjala   |   November 17, 2021 

If you’ve been in Christian circles for a while, you may notice that we tend to use, or maybe overuse, certain words and phrases.

For instance, when we want to get together for biriyani after Bible study, we call it “fellowship.”

We talk about “doing life together” instead of saying we’re a bunch of friends who meet every week or so.

In recent years, the words “authentic” and “relevant” seem to pepper messages about faith with increasing frequency.

We say a “word of prayer” where we often thank God for “guiding and guarding” us.

And, of course, we don’t merely talk about how our week went. We are determined instead to  have a “time of sharing.” (That moment where the heartbeat of every introvert in the room goes through the roof)

I’ve requested many people to “share” their highs and lows from the week. And on countless occasions, I’ve “shared” with many groups about various struggles or victories that I’ve experienced.

But, sometimes, there’s another kind of “sharing” we resort to — the kind that we’re reluctant to pull the covers off of and describe as what it really is: gossip.

“Sharing” has, without our acknowledging it, become a vehicle for talking about others in a less than positive light.

Gossip has been dismissed as passable, excusable, perhaps even warranted in some cases. It is what we’ve silently qualified as a “respectable” sin. We've sanitized it with euphemisms so much that we wonder if it's really even a “sin”??

But the Bible unequivocally calls out gossip as sin.

In fact, in Romans 1, Scripture mentions that God gives some people over to the debasement of their minds because they refuse to follow Him. What kind of people? Here’s the list in Romans 1: 30 “They are gossips,  slanderers, haters of God, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless.“

The list leads with the words “gossips” and “slanderers.” Those words brush up against phrases like “inventors of evil” and “ruthless.” Ouch. There’s no sugar-coating things here: gossip and slander, even under the guise of “sharing” and “prayer requests,” are sin.

The book of Proverbs is filled with warnings about giving in to gossip. Proverbs 16:28 says that “a perverse man stirs up dissension, and a gossip separates close friends.”

Perhaps you and I may think, “But it’s only words. It’s not like I’m murdering anyone.” But here’s the thing: gossip murders reputations and kills relationships.

When we gossip, we see the person being slandered as a commodity who feeds our need for entertainment rather than an image-bearer of God.

When we gossip, we step on people in order to step up in others’ eyes as someone who is “in the know.”

When we gossip, instead of our call to serve people, we use them to serve up “delicious morsels” (Proverbs 18:8) of private information. 

So what should we do instead?

One of the things Scripture tells us to do to prevent a whole truckload of sins is to simply shut up!

Proverbs 21:23 says that "Those who guard their tongues keep themselves from calamity." As someone said, God has given us two ears and only one mouth for a reason!

May we be careful about what we disclose because at the end of our lives God is going to ask us to account for every careless word that we’ve spoken (Matthew 12: 36).

On that day, we would look somewhat foolish if we try to excuse ourselves saying: But I was only sharing a prayer request about so-and-so.

Instead, on that day and every day, may we be able to say with confidence that we used our words to intercede and not to insult, to bless and not to curse, to build up and not to tear down.

 

Photo by Kristina Flour on Unsplash

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When she's not smuggling chocolate past her kids or drinking gallons of coffee, Susan Narjala can be found writing, baking and (thinking about) working out. She grew up in Chennai, lived in Portland, Oregon, for the last ten years and is now back in India with her family. She finds nuggets of humour in the everyday, and writes about it on on her blog, www.susannarjala.com

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