I watched this movie with the late Phillip Seymour Hoffman and Meryl Streep entitled Doubt and it really got me thinking about the power of Gossip. If you haven’t already watched it, I would highly suggest you check it out. In any regards, here’s what I have deducted from the movie (you can watch the reference to the excerpt in the movie I am referring to below).
The whole movie you are torn between two styles of pastoral behaviors. One being a stern and authoritarian Sister Aloysius and the other being Father Flynn the amiable, perhaps too lackadaisical pastor. Is Father Flynn guilty? He could be; but he might not be. Never is there proof to condemn Father Flynn either - only very convincing gossip.
Truth: Gossip is so easy to justify, because it’s working with the material of your truth. It is behind closed doors, whispered under breath, and is a sinful response to human insecurity. Spoken gossip, comes from one’s character. The lie of gossip isn’t, “I’m going to falsify a story about this person,” but the unspoken and assumed, “I have the right to talk about anything I want with whomever I want in whatever way I want.”
Who isn’t guilty of a bit of gossip! I know that I am. *raises hand vehemently*
But if we believe every bit of James 3:11-12, then we must believe that what we reveal (no matter how innocently) to others, is the God of what we believe. What do I mean? A mere piece of juicy information shared reveals our theology under that indulgence. Truly it is a dark, hidden, embedded, implied theology, spoken in whisper and innuendo.
Last thoughts: If some random person gossips about us, it can hurt, but it generally falls flat and carries no weight in our heart. I mean after all, a secular being gossiping is just another mode of discourse in our fleshly world. However, if you hear a believer gossip, it takes on another feeling. What it amounts to is, a brother throwing a sister under the bus for his own ego. Ultimately that ego driven action turns into full-fledged betrayal. It really is a special kind of iniquity. I think that, that it is why Mr. Hoffman was so passionate in his exquisitely executed monologue. The idea of feathers scattering about a city shows the power of a negative indulgence that can never be corrected once it has been done. Why? Because the feathers, or in this case talk, has already traveled too far.
So before you gossip, remember it's profound power. There is no end to it.