I used to work in customer service. One time when I was at work one customer was very rude to me for something that wasn’t my fault and screamed at me loudly. Would I be allowed to state this experience in great detail or would it be a form of gossip? Would it be gossip if I didn’t use the person’s name?
Everyone has horror stories that they like to share with friends and family either as a bid for sympathy or for entertainment value. Occasionally telling of your experience for either reason is not necessarily gossip, but it is also not spiritually improving. Consider this story:
St. Therese of Lisieux participated in the formation of young novices at her convent. One day at mealtime, one of her novices quietly complained to Therese that the nun serving the meals had forgotten to give the novice her dessert. Therese directed her to approach the nun and ask for her dessert. “Oh no,” the novice is said to have replied. She didn’t want to bring attention to herself in that way. Therese firmly insisted that the novice must go ask for her dessert, saying that, because of her complaint, the novice had foregone the privilege of earning merit by suffering in silence.
In a similar manner, while it is not necessarily gossip or always wrong to share with others the shabby way in which we have been treated by someone, it does mean that we have chosen to forego the opportunity to offer up to Christ, in union with his suffering, the suffering he allows us to endure.