But I can assure you that I was deeply embarrassed when I did.
Several years ago, a friend of mine found out some juicy gossip about a mutual acquaintance. I've never been one to turn down a good piece of gossip, and have spent plenty of time running my own mouth. Nothing to be proud of, but the truth nonetheless.
This time, though, the gossip that my friend shared with me was deeply personal. Our acquaintance was going through a rough patch and had ended up in rehab. I didn't have any idea that this family was dealing with this, but instead of extending sympathy toward our friend's plight, we made light of it.
Thinking about my reaction to the fact that we relished the taste of gossip on our tongues makes me rethink my reaction when a juicy bit comes my way these days. I don't always turn my head; in fact, there are times when I still sit and listen (and it's not so I can learn from the other person's mistakes...). I don't know why. Somehow, it's entertaining in a sick sort of way to hear of someone else's broken circumstances. I have, in a way, embraced what the Psalmist calls a sharp tongue: "They make their tongues as sharp as a serpent’s; the poison of vipers is on their lips." (140:3), and I have proven that in this regard I have little sense (Whoever derides their neighbor has no sense, but the one who has understanding holds their tongue. [Proverbs 11:12]).
It really doesn't make any sense to squeeze enjoyment out of someone else's pain, and as I thought over that conversation from years ago, my conscience told me that it was time to be more aware of the power of my tongue.
The words of the reckless pierce like swords, but the tongue of the wise brings healing.