Sometime I have a real temptation with GOSSIP. Ugh. Don't you hate that word? This morning I was thinking about this problem and a situation from over 23 years ago that got me into trouble in this department.
I try to overcome this vice by not saying anything to anyone else that I wouldn't say to a person's face. I always keep secrets and usually personal information private. I've gotten pretty good at this.
Sometimes I don't say anything, but I really wish I could.
And then there are the occasional times when I say something "nice" and roll my eyes or insinuate with body language and facial expression that I mean the EXACT OPPOSITE of what is coming out of my mouth. This is a form of gossip and can be very hurtful. I think all forms of gossip are dangerous, and that this is a particularly insidious sin.
I am even trying to figure out which of the "Seven Cardinal Sins" that gossip falls under, and I am not even sure. I think it can apply to ALL of them, except perhaps #1, in a sexual sense and maybe #4, but I will give it a shot:
1. Lust - One can have an intense desire for attention or popularity, which could incite the individual to gossip.
2. Gluttony - Haven't we all known someone who just can't keep their mouth shut and talks about anyone and everyone at all times? The juicier the better? Isn't this a form of gluttony?
3. Greed - An excessive desire for material possession can be an underlying reason for gossip.
4. Sloth - So this one I am struggling to make a connection to gossip, except for stretching a bit and saying that sometimes it is much easier to be a passive participant to gossip and go along with the flow by quietly listening to someone else gossiping away. (And enjoying the listening.) I am so guilty! By being lazy and not doing the right thing by either leaving or changing the subject or defending the person who isn't there to defend themselves, we are not only guilty of engaging in passive gossip, but perhaps sloth as well.
5. Wrath - If one harbors anger and an intense desire for revenge, this can manifest itself in very ugly gossip.
6. Envy - Some of us struggle with envy, or as St. Thomas Aquinas phrased it "the sorrow for another's good.". To take it a step further, there is even a German word called Schadenfreude which means "pleasure derived by another's misfortune". I think it hits the nail on the head over the root cause of my gossip.
7. Pride - Wanting to be more important or better than someone else. I think this is probably why most people gossip, but am not sure. Personally, while I'm sure I have had my moments, I don't think I struggle with pride as much as with envy. At least not at this stage of my life.