I so appreciated Dave Ramsey’s Catalyst talk on key problems that can undermine a successful organization.

One of those? Gossip.

Whenever I hear about the evils of gossip, I remember a weird encounter with a youth leader a long time ago.

I was struggling to understand what exactly “gossip” included. For an analyzer like me, it wasn’t simple to figure out when I could share personal thoughts, spiritual concerns, etc., with trusted individuals – and when that was sinful gossip. While I had heard plenty of spiritual people discourage the practice gossip, few if any had ever defined it.

So one time I threw out the suggestion that he should teach his youth group a definition of gossip, ’cause not everybody knows what’s really gossip and what’s not. (Of course, I didn’t tell him I was one of those confused youth.)

He responded pretty harshly; anyone who claimed that, he said, was just making an excuse to gossip!

I really wasn’t.

But that encounter has always reminded me that we’ve got to be willing to define our terms. Surprisingly enough, even college students (and beyond!) haven’t always received clear, practical teaching on basic spiritual concepts. And sometimes they’ve forgotten.

(By the way, I think Dave Ramsey gave us a good start for defining gossip: “When a negative is discussed with anyone who can’t help solve the problem.”)

What’s your definition? What’s your students’?

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