I remember the interview as if it were yesterday. In reality, it’s been 21 years.
She became my boss. I remember thinking we could probably be friends. We couldn’t. Her mood swings were the highest of highs and the lowest of lows. A pendulum of emotions. I watched every morning to see the look on her face as she walked in. That one look would tell me how the day would play out.
We had a rocky relationship from the start. Here, I thought we could be friends and it became the worst relationship of my life. I was constantly being compared to the person I replaced. I could do no right. I couldn’t even ask good questions. That’s what she told me.
She would tell me about the man who sat across the way from her. I could never understand their problem. But she talked about him more than she should have. She stewed over the fact that he was male and she was female. Life didn’t seem fair to her.
After many months, she told me the reason. He knew her deep dark secret. The one thing she only told a trusted few. He had guessed. She had confessed. From that moment on, she didn’t trust him. She knew he could out her at any time. He never did. But it was the elephant in the room.
Did she hate him because he knew her secret? Could he not be trusted? Had he really done anything wrong? Was she afraid he was going to talk about her just as she talked about him? Was her fear the enemy of her own soul?
He never said a word. But he knew her secret.
She used to tell me the faults and misdeeds of others, as well. I listened. I noted. I felt she was trying to sway my opinion. I came to my own conclusions of those being discussed. And of her.
You see. One day the truth dawned. It was a sad and scary truth.
If she was talking to me about others, then she was talking about me to others. It’s a hard sentence to read. It’s a harder truth to swallow.
That’s the way gossip goes. No one is exempt. You talk about the one you’re not with. Your confidant is the one you’re with. At that moment.
It happens all the time.
Innocent fact sharing. Purposeful venting. Secret letting. Fact checking. Getting the other side of the story. Comparing details. Insinuating evil. Assuming our words are safe with certain others.
Gossipmonger: A person who habitually passes on confidential information or spreads rumors.
Let the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart be pleasing in your sight, O Lord my Rock and my Redeemer. Psalm 19:14
I think about my conversations. When have I shared facts just to appear in the know? When have I vented because the situation turned in someone else’s favor? When have I spilled the beans about someone else’s life because I was with my best friend? When have I fact checked just because? When have I compared details because I don’t want to be confused? When have I assumed my words were safe with others and they’ve come back to bite me? When have I talked about others because they were different from me?
After the creation, God saw all the wickedness that was happening. He saw that the hearts and thoughts of man were only evil all the time. He was sorry he had ever made man. (Genesis 6:5-6). That smarts. Smacks me upside the head with the truth about my own heart. My own words. My own intentions.
Who am I to judge others’ words and intentions when mine aren’t always pleasing to God?