By: Fr. Kris Ikegwuonu, MDM
One of the challenges that Elizabeth had to deal with in the Bible was gossip. Yes, she had no child, but what equally affected her so much was the gossip by people around her who even ought to know better. It was “double wahala” for her: childlessness and destructive gossip. Even angel Gabriel confirmed it by telling Mary: And behold, your kinswoman Elizabeth in her old age has also conceived a son; and this is the sixth month with her who was called barren. Luke 1:36. Mark the part that says: “…with her who was called barren”. Now, who called her barren: people and not God. Even God hates gossip and helps those who are gossiped about like Elizabeth.
Wetin be gossip self? It is conversation about other people, behind their back and garnished with lies. Gossip is also called “Amebo”. You will be shocked that educated people, highly placed people in the church and society engage in this. Bishops, priests, laity are all guilty of this. The part wey bad pass be say: most times, the person being gossiped about is the last to hear of it. People can even be talking about the person and when the person comes around the gossips will pretend and be quiet. Kai, people bad o!
In every gossip, there are 4 categories of people:
1) The Talkers: these are the champions and most times the creators or originators of the gossip. They are myopic and rush to wrong conclusions. They don’t mind their business. They must talk about people. The worst part is that they don’t know they are gossiping. When you confront them about what they said, they deny it and cover up. Some will even tell you not to mention their names. They lie a lot. Some of them do it to maintain relevance, some out of jealousy and envy, some out of malice, for some it has become a habit and can never change.
2) The Listeners: These are those who listen to the lies of the talkers. They help the ministry of the talkers. Without them, the talkers will have bad market because the talkers need available ears to feed with lies. Some listeners promote the evil of the talkers by making some exclamations. They swallow and believe everything they are told without asking investigative questions. One of the worst things about this group is that when they see the person being gossiped about they don’t talk. They begin to see the person from the lies they have been told. These listeners are deadly. They glory in getting lies and gossip about people and deceive themselves that they are current or that they know everything happening around the area. Foolishness.
3) The Spreaders: these are the worst or do I say the “Baba” of Amebo! These ones, they feed and survive on gossip. They are 3-in-one. They are the talkers, the Listeners and the Spreaders. Everything said about the talkers also applies to them. They help to spread the lies all over the universe. They can’t Keep secrets. They add sugar to the lies, add maggi and curry to cook the soup of gossip better, they garnish the lies more. They don’t even bother to find out if what they heard is true. Their mouths are poison. They look for the latest gossip in town.
4) The Doubters: these ones are good. They mind their business. If anybody comes to tell them anything about another person, the investigative questions alone will make the spreader or talker look foolish. Unfortunately, they are very few around us. One sweet thing about this group is that they will always tell the person being gossiped about the lies going round and to hear from the horses mouth. From the on-set, they doubt the stories they hear about people. They don’t discuss people. The Spreaders don’t like them because they can’t defend the lies they spread. If they can, they will invite the “gossipper” and the “gossippee” for fact finding.
Now, the moment of truth: which one are you? Which one are you guilty of? Tell yourself the truth.
We are all guilty in one way or the other. You and I. May God forgive us, amen.
If anybody hears anything about you and believes it without hearing your own side of the story or coming to tell you about it that person is your worst enemy, that person is a bigger problem than the person spreading the gossip and that person has been looking for a way to hate you. Fear that person.
We need to know some things about gossip that will help us in life. It helped Elizabeth to survive the hydra-headed monster called gossip. Gossip bad well well, but you can conquer it.
• Gossip no dey kill. Relax your mind.
• People must always talk. You can’t stop it.
• Gossip can only affect you if you want it to. It is your choice.
• No be everything wey you hear you go react to. Ignore most of them.
• Lie is cheap, but truth is expensive.
• Be yourself. Don’t pretend. Keep doing the good you are doing.
• Surround yourself with only quality people who will add value to your life. That was one of the reasons why Elizabeth was happy that Mary came to visit her. Those around Elizabeth including relatives couldn’t be trusted any more.
• Be close to God. He will help you and vindicate you.
• Sometimes your reaction and your talking about the lies against you even magnifies the problem. Those who didn’t even know about it will then get to know about it.
• Some gossips get expiry date.
• When you hear something about a brother or sister, kindly let the person know or hear from the horses mouth.
• Equally, from the person talking to the fabricated stories you will just know that some stories are fabricated.
• Let the gossip end with you. Don’t spread it.
Above all, if you don’t have anything good to say about others, ZIP YOUR MOUTH!
God bless you.