Here is an age old conundrum, why do people enjoy talking about other people when they are not around?The dictionary defines gossip as the idle talk or rumor, especially about the private affairs of others. Rumor is of course, unsubstantiated information, not proven to be true, and often times part fabrication. God's word says to stay away from all gossip. Proverbs 4:23 (the message) "Keep vigilant watch over your heart; that's where life starts. Don't talk out of both sides of your mouth; avoid careless banter, white lies, and gossip. Keep your eyes straight ahead; ignore all sideshow distractions. Watch your step, and the road will stretch out smooth before you. Look neither right nor left; leave evil in the dust." It's usually best to consider the counsel of God for our own hearts, versus looking for this fault in others. Examining our own hearts keeps us from pointing our finger to another and leaving an opening so that we might quickly fall. Gossip is like "candy" for us to imbibe, just as whiskey is for the drunk. It tastes good while it goes down, but, in the end the gossiper suffers as much as the one who is being talked about. Consider this~"A gadabout gossip can't be trusted with a secret, but someone of integrity won't violate a confidence"Proverbs 11:13. Joining in gossip whether you are listening or telling will ruin your reputation. [ Wise People Take Advice ]" The gossip of bad people gets them in trouble; the conversation of good people keeps them out of it." Proverbs 12:13. "Mean people spread mean gossip; their words smart and burn" Proverbs 16:27. Gossip hurts people. It hurts in a way that physical pain cannot even come close. The media is filled with news of celebrities and their lives. The pervasive thinking is that if this person is rich and famous then gossiping about them goes along with the money, fame and power. It is no wonder that so many of our nation's television, sports, and political men and women fall into trouble. Painful as it is to hear news of the downfall of a stranger, how much more difficult is it to hear vicious or idle talk of a friend or loved one. Proverbs 16:28 says, "Troublemakers start fights; gossips break up friendships." That's a lot of damage from a few thoughtless words. After seeing the recent pain in a close friend as a result of gossip about her, it will be harder for me to do. So, if not gossip, then what? God's way brings life, health and refreshing to us in all things. In Ephesians 4:29, his word tells us to "Let no foul or polluting language, nor evil word nor unwholesome or worthless talk [ever] come out of your mouth, but only such [speech] as is good and beneficial to the spiritual progress of others, as is fitting to the need and the occasion, that it may be a blessing and give grace (God's favor) to those who hear it." In all things, grace.