Crumpy wrote “Learn to obey the command of Christ to not judge anybody. If you don’t judge anybody, it may be easier to not talk about them or anybody. It will be easier to avoid jumping to conclusions and condemning somebody.”
I believe the prohibition against judging is against judging the state of anothers soul. We are allowed to, and MUST, judge ACTIONS. The question becomes how, if at all, we communicate what we know. To me, it depends on whether telling what we know will protect someone else, or not telling what we know will place them in danger.
Crumpy wrote “I’ve been speaking to a younger family member about an older person who is difficult to deal with. I’ve studied that person for decades and had some suggestions for the younger one about dealing with the older one.” Using the above criteria, the young family member should not be talking about the older one, or “judging” him to be difficult, and Crumpy should not be giving any suggestions because that’s supporting the “judgment” that the person is difficult. Of course, I don’t agree with that analysis. Acting as if the person isn’t difficult when they plainly are, out of some fear of “judging” them, is to suspend reality. Sometimes we need to be able to talk to others about difficult people, and I don’t think it’s gossip if we are genuinely seeking or giving needed advice. I think human interaction would be seriously hampered if we can’t discuss the negative experiences we have with others without being accused of “gossip.”
Crumpy wrote: “I used to work in health care, and there you are supposed to be non-judgmental and certainly cannot talk about anybody or anything. Whatever I heard or saw – really – wasn’t even my business. There are many things that will die with me. Pretend you’re a nurse or doctor or lawyer and keep your lips buttoned up.” I’m sure Crumpy doesn’t really mean this. I’m sure he would make a pretty fast judgment if he saw another health care worker sexually assaulting a patient, and that he would not consider such a thing none of his business. It is generally not considered gossip to report wrongdoing to the proper authorities, but sometimes it is…for example, when Crumpy made what he believed to be a legitimate complaint about his former Bishop, it was interpreted by someone else as being slander/calumny. So, there appears to be a line between legitimate complaints and gossip - but it is quite unclear where that line is, and it may depend upon whose ox is being gored.
Obviously, no one should be announcing wedding plans for other people, or asking personal and prying questions for no reason other than idle curiosity. I think I would put these things in the “gossip” category - there’s no legitimate reason to do them. But we can’t protect ourselves if we attempt to ignore bad behavior because we don’t want to judge or because we don’t have unimpeachable proof. As I mentioned in the other thread, that’s how the sexual abuse crisis happened…while everyone was being charitable, and non-judgmental, children were being raped and their lives ruined. And that’s how women and children suffer abuse without any help, and dishonest people cheat their clients, and sociopaths prey on the innocent and gullible. And the people who do those things will be the first to accuse you of being “judgmental” if you try to bring their misdeeds into the open.
BUT, gossip IS a bad thing, and ruins many relationships and hurts many people. I think motivation makes a huge difference. Telling someone that another neighbor drinks too much might be gossip over the back fence, but it might be a necessity if that person is trying to borrow that someone’s car late at night. :shrug: