Gossip

My name is gossip.
I have no respect for justice.
I maim without killing.
I break hearts and ruin lives.
I am cunning and malicious and
gather strength with age.
The more I am quoted,
the more I am believed.
My victims are helpless.
They cannot protect themselves against me
because I have no name and no face.
To track me down is impossible.
The harder you try,
the more elusive I become.
I am nobody's friend.
Once I tarnish a reputation,
it is never the same.
I topple governments and wreck marriages.
I ruin careers and cause sleepless nights,
heartaches and indigestion.
I make innocent people cry in their pillows.
Even my name hisses.
I am called gossip.
I make headlines and headaches.
Before you repeat a story,
ask yourself:
Is it true?
Is it harmless?
Is it necessary?
If it isn't,
don't repeat it.
My name is Gossip!


Wagging Tongues

A certain priest lay dying from a broken heart.
Wagging tongues had ruined his life and work.
A person, who had been one of the principal
offenders, came to ask his forgiveness.
"Father," she said, "I am sorry for my sins
of slander against you.
Is there anything I can do restore your good name?"

The dying priest pulled out a pillow from under
his feeble head and handed it to her, saying:
"Go up into the church tower, cut open this pillow
case and empty out all the feathers that are inside."

The lady did as she was told.
A strong wind blew the feathers in every direction.
Then she returned tot he priest.
"Now," he said to her, "go out and gather up
all those feathers and put them back into the pillow case."
"But that's impossible," objected the lady.
"The wind has blown them across the whole town."

"That is just how impossible it is for you to get
back my good name for me," said the priest.

The Spaniards say:
"Whoever gossips to you, will gossip of you."

Italians say:
"The tongue has no bones, but it can break your back."

The Chinese say:
"God gave a man two ears and only one mouth.
Why don't we listen twice as much as we talk?"

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Word of Socrates
Socrates would have agreed with what St. James wrote:
"If a person never sins in what he says,
he is perfect." [Jm 3:2]

One day someone ran up to the ancient wise man
Socrates and whispered: "Socrates, listen to this
bit of juicy gossip about a friend of yours."

"Wait!" quickly answered the wise man. "Have you
first passed that gossip through the three
filters?" "What three filters?" "Yes, my friend,
three filters. Now let's see whether the gossip
you want to tell me passes through those filters."

"The first filter is truth. Are you sure that
what you are going to tell me is the truth?"
"Well," stuttered the man, "actually I heard the
story secondhand." "Hmmm," answered Socrates.

"Let's go on to the second filter and see if your
story will pass through it. Is what you are going
to tell me, kind?" "Not exactly," said the
informer. "In fact it's just the opposite."
"So that takes care of filter number two.

Now tell me: is it necessary?" "Hardly."

"Well, if what you want to tell me,
is neither true nor kind nor necessary,
skip it."

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© Tina's Prayer Gate
2001