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It's time to gossip some good news

Rosemary Dawson considers everyday ideas that go way back to the 66 books of the Bible

Personal business is no longer private

LOVE and money may make the world go round, but gossip can also put people in a spin. Minding one’s own business used to be a quality learnt at home and school. Nowadays, thanks to social media, it seems that personal business is no longer quite so private.

In our celebrity-fixated society hardly a day goes by without someone’s reputation or career being ruined by a few careless words – whether they reveal a kiss-and-tell story or are part of a deliberate campaign to damage the popularity of someone in the public eye.

In the absence of any real news, these kind of gossip stories fill the newspapers and satisfy our so-called ‘need to know’ about the lives of the rich and famous.

Trouble is, mud has a habit of sticking. And once it has appeared in print or on social media, no amount of protest can change the impression that has grabbed headline atten­tion. The damage is done.

I suppose many of us enjoy a good chat with a neighbour over the garden fence, a parent at the school gate or a work colleague by the coffee bar. There’s nothing harmful about sharing our thoughts and fears, our hopes or our disappointments. But when our conversation damages the reputation of those who can’t answer back, that’s a different ball game.

What does the Good Book advise? ‘Make it your ambition to lead a quiet life: you should mind your own business’ (1 Thessalonians 4:11 New International Version). Another verse from The Message paraphrase reads: ‘Don’t bad-mouth your leaders, not even under your breath, and don’t abuse your betters, even in the privacy of your home. Loose talk has a way of getting picked up and spread around’ (Ecclesiastes 10:20).

Now here’s a revolutionary idea. The next time we are chatting to a friend, how about sharing some good news for a change? As a starter, we could headline all the good things that people are doing for their communities or for humanity as a whole.

Surely that’s a business worth investing in!

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