In order to write this post, I have to reveal an area of sacrifice I’m working on this Lent. A part of self control, for me, is the sin of gossip.
Throughout my life, I have wrestled with this sin. Before I began practicing my faith, I never knew gossiping was a bad thing. It was all around me. Family and friends always used gossip in conversations. It was and still is a way to either vent or share things because we feel we can in either making fun of someone or puffing up our chests to make ourselves look better.
Over time, for me, I realized my confessions continued to cough up this sin and yet, no real self reflection struck me on why this was repeated.
At this stage in my life, I do find myself gossiping, but it’s like I told myself in a certain way…well, I’ll only go this far in sharing, or I won’t say too much as to not fall into the trap. But regardless, I would find myself reflecting on discussions I’ve had with others after that fact and see that no matter how I wanted to classify it, it was still gossip.
There is a fine line I want to say when it comes to being concerned over an individual when sharing things for the sake of helping them without their knowledge. Speaking about their decision making or ways that could hurt them spiritually, those incidents may cause for others to discuss and plan out what could be done to get them back on track. But to just have a field day about someone’s lifestyle or continued same actions that cause pain to others, does nothing to keep talking about how awful this person is to everyone.
Coming back to my sin of gossip during this Lent. I’ve come to take on an action that I first saw as my own penance. And that is to correct myself with those who I gossiped with as a way to reconcile my behavior and sin. Explaining to the individual, that I did wrong and that I shouldn’t have said what I said. Doesn’t matter if it was one word blurted out or ten. Doesn’t matter if I didn’t mean harm in sharing, because it is harmful no matter what. It places me in accountability. Makes me humble myself that I sinned and want to correct myself because Jesus placed it in my heart and eyes to see what I have done. Oh how much Our Lord wrestles my heart to show me my sin. I’m thankful.
What catches me to about gossip, is that I wish those individuals who do know it’s wrong, don’t pin it on me or correct me right on the spot. Gosh, how I wish they would. I’m not saying it’s easy to do but I’m going to start trying. Sometimes we don’t do that enough or at least in my circle I don’t see it. I also don’t see much in asking forgiveness for daily actions that can hinder unity or cause disruption. Most of the time, we don’t want to take notice we’ve done some thing wrong or pride ourselves that we are doing all things right. Really? There are some things to dig deep about and frankly, I would appreciate if my fellow Catholic/Christian would call me out when I sin so it’s corrected right then and there. But I know it’s not easy. Honestly, I know. And I know I will slip up again, but my hope is the day it completely stops for me. That I am so rooted, it doesn’t make me budge. And most of all, throughout this self examination, how the path through it gets me to God’s mercy. It’s there every time. Like the Light at the end of the tunnel. Once I’ve reflected, accounted for, asked forgiveness, His mercy is there…and I move on.
If the dialogue isn’t fruitful brothers and sisters, there is no end that points to a helpful solution, then do yourself and me a favor….don’t go there!
8th Commandment, “You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.
Added note: The Catholic Church has always taught there is a communal reconciliation