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Author Topic: Biblical definition of gossip and slander  (Read 28671 times)
araignee19
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« on: June 26, 2012, 07:12:41 am »

One thing I struggle with a lot since leaving GCM is trying to define gossip and slander in the correct way. The church I was at put a huge emphasis on not gossiping or slandering people, which I did and still do appreciate. I really do hate gossip, and think it tears people apart. It is something I want to avoid, and believe we are commanded to avoid it in the Bible. However, the definition I learned for gossip and slander from my GC church was skewed, and I'm having trouble redefining these terms.

The way they defined gossip and slander, both explicitly and implicitly, was anything that was communicated about other people without their (or a leader's) express permission, unless of course you were communicating about other people to the leaders. For example, I once experienced a time where I apparently caused some division at team by voicing that I disagreed with something a leader said, and that I thought they had incorrectly handled a verse or situation (don't remember which). My female team apprentice got upset and worried that I was gossiping to team members about the leaders and causing divisions, reported it to the female team leader, who reported it to her mentor, who reported it to the rock female leader, who reported it to the rock male leader, until it went all the way up to the head pastor and back down to my male team leader and his apprentice. At this point, the male team leader and his apprentice asked to meet with me and my two roommates, who were incorrectly assumed to be involved in my attempts to "tear the team apart," and rebuked us about causing disunity, which I was never trying to do. And of course what they did was not gossip or slander, even though it hurt me and my reputation, along with my roommate's! What I did was gossip, because the results were disunity, and it wasn't approved by leadership, while the results of their talk was "leadership approved unity."

I disagree with what they call gossip, but I still find myself acting upon this old definition. I have a very hard time asking about other people or listening to stories about others, or even asking an individual about themselves (I feel I will put them in a situation where they have to gossip) because I am afraid. It gets to the point where I exclude myself from discussion of people's lives, which makes me look uncaring and distant. I don't know how to have real relationships with people, because I'm too afraid to get information from and about them. I know this is not good, but I'm not sure what else to do.

Has anyone else struggled with this? Or have any insights?
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puff of purple smoke
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« Reply #1 on: June 26, 2012, 11:56:43 am »

This article on slander, written in response to a GC article on slander, may be of interest to you:
http://gcxweb.org/Misc/TheCauseAndEffect/CAE-SlanderExamined.aspx

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blonde
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« Reply #2 on: June 27, 2012, 01:15:54 am »

For every GCx pastor alive, any form of critical thought towards the organization will be deamed as gossip.  So in my mind, what is the point in to trying to make those pastors happy. Mark Darling, Brent Knox will see us as gossip liars until the day we are dead.  Forget how they feel, and tell the truth.  They don't think one minute how they hurt people and have done that for years.  Gossip is not gossip if it is the truth.  
« Last Edit: June 27, 2012, 01:19:06 am by blonde » Logged

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araignee19
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« Reply #3 on: June 27, 2012, 05:26:30 am »

I agree with most of what you said, except that I think gossip can be true. When my coworkers sit around and share juicy bits of info with each other, most of it is true. But it's still gossip, right?
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Linda
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« Reply #4 on: June 27, 2012, 06:52:13 am »

The old Bill Gothard definition comes to mind. It was something like "talking about something someone did when you aren't part of the problem or part of the solution."

It is not gossip to expose false teaching or disagree publicly with the "ideas" of public figures.

I disagree with President Obama on most things. I am free to speak my mind to others about how I disagree with him and it is not gossip.

I disagree with Joel Osteen and Mike Murdock on a lot of stuff. I am free to tell others why I think think these men have some things wrong theologically.

I disagree with the public teaching of many GC "elders". It is not gossip to state why I think they are wrong.

It would be gossip to discuss the private behavior of all these people unless I was involved and talking to other people who were involved.


« Last Edit: June 27, 2012, 07:48:21 am by Linda » Logged

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EverAStudent
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« Reply #5 on: June 27, 2012, 08:11:40 am »

Hi Linda,

Mostly I agree with your definition of gossip, but I think it is too narrow. 

I would prefer to define gossip as passing along information for which there is no holy reason for it to be passed along except for deriving perverse pleasure. 

In other words, I may not be part of the problem or solution to someone else's situation, but I can still properly discuss a matter because it can be illustrative, instructive, and informative to a third party for them to understand what happened.

There are many instances in Scripture where someone is recorded as having done something "privately" but now all the world can read about it for all history because it was deemed illustrative, instructive, and informative for all humankind (even though no one can do anything about the original situation).  There was no evil intent in bringing it to light, and certainly no one gained a perverse pleasure in doing so.  I doubt that Luke enjoyed telling everyone that Paul and Barnabas had a sharp private argument.

Blessings.
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Linda
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« Reply #6 on: June 27, 2012, 08:24:08 am »

What I was mostly trying to get at is the idea that disagreeing publicly with someone's theology is not gossip. Also, I don't want to give the idea that I hang on every word Bill Gothard says. Smiley
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araignee19
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« Reply #7 on: March 29, 2018, 09:06:05 am »

I'd like to reopen this thread because so many people on this forum are arguing that this site is or is not gossip and slander, but with totally different understandings of what those things are. We might as well drop the accusations and just get to the root of "what is gossip and slander."

To start, I want to ask a question that has been bugging me: Biblically speaking and legally speaking, is it even possible to slander an organization? Or does the definition only apply to individuals? I do not claim to know the answer, but think discussing this will help everyone understand each other some.
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Huldah
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« Reply #8 on: March 29, 2018, 09:37:18 am »

I would prefer to define gossip as passing along information for which there is no holy reason for it to be passed along except for deriving perverse pleasure. 

I like this, not as a definition per se, but as a helpful test of whether something is better left unsaid.

The old Bill Gothard definition comes to mind. It was something like "talking about something someone did when you aren't part of the problem or part of the solution."

Was that Bill Gothard? I never knew that. We heard that phase all the time in Solid Rock. In fact, it quickly reached the status of a thought-stopping cliche.

A thought-stopping cliche is a word or phrase that people use to stop themselves from confronting uncomfortable realities, or to avoid giving a subject the consideration it deserves. "Gossip" and "slander" were both words used to this effect in Solid Rock. Obviously, there are still some people in the GC movement who take that approach. I'm not talking about real gossip and real slander, which are undeniably sins. I'm talking about using accusations of slander or gossip to shut down legitimate conversation, and especially to keep people from confronting contradictions and problems within the movement.
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