Gossip: juicy as a watermelon, sour as a lemon. I will be the first to admit that I get caught up in gossip really easily. With all of the couples springing up around this time of year, I remember walking into my room one night and saying to my roommate, “Roommate! I have new gossip to share!” No, seriously. Those were my exact words. What was I thinking? Well, like most days, I probably wasn’t. According to the Oxford English Dictionary, to gossip is “to talk idly, mostly about other people's affairs; to go about tattling.” I like this definition, but I also turned to people in my life whom I have found to be wise. I asked my mom, my pastor’s wife, other family members and peers from Corban. A few of their answers, in no particular order, are as follows: “Talking bad about someone behind their back.” “Telling someone something that: A – is not your story to tell, B – you wouldn’t say to the person’s face, or C – does not edify the hearer, the teller or the subject.” “Unnecessary negative talk about another person.” “Pridefully speaking negatively about a person with malicious intent.” “Telling other people’s business without their permission. Often with malicious intent.” “Somebody sharing someone else’s situation or story for the sole purpose of getting a reaction out of others.” “Spreading information that isn’t yours to spread; often with a negative connotation; bad mouthing people.”
Rebekah Peters is a junior at Corban this year.

Rebekah Peters currently resides in PVG.

Based on many of these definitions, telling my roommate about the newest couple in PVG might not be considered gossip, despite me calling it that. I wasn’t bad mouthing the people. In fact, I was quite excited for them! But it wasn’t my news to tell. We also must ask, where is the line between ranting/venting healthily and creating an atmosphere of gossip? If I have had a bad day and someone did something to offend or upset me, should I keep it to myself? Personally, I am a total verbal processor. Even if nobody is listening, I have to vocalize my thoughts. But in telling a close friend about my frustrations, I must be aware of my own intent. Many nights I will tell my roommate the frustrations of the day. She is a helpful individual who allows me to process and helps guide me to a healthy conclusion. Basically, she gives me another perspective as to how to look at the situation. Imagine I told her this “awful” thing someone did to me. I think it would only be gossip if I was attacking their character and not their actions. If my sharing of the news made her think negatively about the person because of a character issue, I was gossiping about the person. All too often I find myself making judgments about people based on their actions and then share my new thoughts about that person with others, instead of solely sharing the actions with people I trust to process what happened. More than that, if I don’t agree with the person’s actions, shouldn’t I just go directly to the person? We’ll leave that for another day. Gossip is much like watermelons and lemons: juicy, sour and full of seeds. Everything we say is a seed. Think about it. Each of my words are a little seed that I am planting in your brain. You have the choice to allow that seed to grow, but it was still a seed that was planted. Seeds are helpful. Without them, plants could not reproduce. But when are eating a nice, juicy slice of watermelon, we are quick to spit out the “bad” black seeds but have no issue consuming the others. Why? Because a watermelon will grow in our stomachs if we don’t! Just kidding. Rather, because we were taught that one seed is fine to consume (perhaps even nutritious), the other isn’t. I encourage you to join me on a journey of learning to consume the seeds that aren’t harmful and to spit out the ones that harm us.