Gossip and Conversation

When Paul said, "Our conversation is in heaven," and when Peter counseled, "As he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation," the reference in each case was to behavior and conduct or manner of living. In familiar usage, however, conversing is interchanging thoughts and views, and when used of speech directly infers talking "in an intelligent or sustained manner." When the heavenly minded converse together they are unfolding the mystery of godliness and declaring the righteousness of the kingdom of heaven. Conversation, then, can be a medium for the revelation of man to man by those who understand what man's creator truly is.

Gossip, on the other hand, is usually based on a determination to hold man in the bonds of matter and to deny spirituality. Long ago a gossip was the sponsor at a baptism, and as fellow sponsors met at christening feasts or similar merrymakings there was a special intimacy in the chat; many idle tales were told, and often groundless rumors were started, so that gossip now implies "idle personal talk." Sometimes it may be amusing and harmless, but quite often even this phase of it is like a syrup in which the drop of poison is administered; for thoughtless gossip will often poison other minds with envy and resentment and so make them judge unrighteous judgment. A carnivorous animal makes no difference between individuals on whom it preys due to any appreciation of their intellectual attainment or usefulness to the world; it is thinking only of its own appetite. The gossip can be likewise as merciless, and every great man, burdened with vast duties for the welfare of his country and nation, has to guard against attacks of the poisoned serpent's tooth or the claws and jaws of liars.

October 11, 1919

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