In many places throughout Scripture, we are warned of the dangers of talking idly about others, particularly speaking inappropriately or uncharitably, especially regarding another’s behavior, appearance, motives, or reputation. Gossip is so popular and typical in many of our conversations, that oftentimes we are arms deep into it before we even realize we’re doing it, and it can become a habit, or even the basis of “friendly” gatherings.
In the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus explains how the people were gossiping about himself as well as John the Baptist. He says, “John came neither eating nor drinking, and they said, ‘He is possessed by a demon.’ The Son of Man came eating and drinking and they said, ‘Look, he is a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinner.’” (NAB, MT 11:18-19) These are the irreverent, inappropriate, and uncharitable remarks about John the Baptist, the one about whom Jesus says, “among those born of women there has been none greater than John the Baptist.” (11:11) And these are the rantings about Jesus, the Christ, Son of God.
How wrong our gossip can be! We must be so very careful here, to ensure that we ourselves are not drawn into the judgmental conversations we encounter in our daily lives. As Christians, we pursue Truth, we pursue Love, and we pursue Wisdom. These are present in Christ, and so, as we seek Christ in others, we become able to witness Wisdom “vindicated by her works” (11:18), where grace allows us to, as yet, live imperfectly in the Kingdom of God, with faith and hope to sustain us.
I know that I am judgmental, and that only you, Lord, see with the eyes of perfect Truth. Help me to seek you in others and to find your presence in the world. Give me your grace to speak of others with charity, compassion, and understanding. Allow me to see your Wisdom as she expresses herself in works of faith and love. May I grow ever stronger in my love for others so that you may be glorified in my life. Amen.