I have a confession: I love being the facilitator of information...I love "being in the know" and passing on the news - whether it is information on a new restaurant I discovered, or a place I visited on my many vacations to locales exotic and new, or a movie/DVD I watched, or a new artist (whether musical or theatrical), or...well, you get the picture. I am signed up for (it seems like) hundreds of email blasts so I can always know what is going on where and when and how...and that usually is a good thing. My friends and co-workers and family often call upon me when they are trying to plan social events around town or making plans to travel to a new location. But there is a downside, I have found as well...
At what point does "sharing information" become gossip? When do you cross the line between the two? This is a question that I have been confronted with more than once this year. Sometimes I have shared information that I thought needed to be shared (for example, I was requesting prayers for a certain situation - and I was "reprimanded" for putting someone's "business" out without their permission...go figure!); or, at a recent gathering of friends, I was called out for the number of emails I sent out relaying information about a variety of things. Amazingly, those same people who chastised me in one instance have reached out to me in other situations to "pass the word along..." So, again, the question becomes when is it "gossip" and when is it "communication"? I don't know.
However, the Bible gives this admonition in Proverbs 16:28: "A perverse man stirs up dissension, and a gossip separates close friends...", so I'm thinking - like with many spiritual things - it all comes down to motive. Since this is something that I have been struggling with since the start of the year, I have been very aware when my conversations, emails, writings have been "malicious" and when they have not been. It is funny - when you ask God to show you something about your character, you better be prepared to deal with whatever He shows you!
I am still going to be a facilitator of information - it is one of my talents. But I am also going to be very aware of what my underlying motives are whenever I am called upon for information.