Guidance on Charity and Non-gossip
The word charity has two meanings and both of them have spiritual connotations. The first is to do with giving the other person the benefit of the doubt, not assuming the worst about the other person. It is about being non-judgmental*. Let God be the judge. Offer love and compassion, not judgement. This does not mean that one shows approval of things which are not to be approved of, but there are ways of expressing ones concern about aspects of a person’s life, which show caring and compassion to the person who has, in your opinion, ‘gone wrong’. This makes the person feel loved and wanted, not rejected and avoided for what may be seen as their mistakes and wrong doings.
The second meaning is about caring for others in a practical way by giving money or service to them. There will always be a need for people to help others, sometimes in a very impersonal way, perhaps by donating money to people who are the victims of an earthquake disaster on the other side of the globe. Sometimes the need is much closer to home, for example we may decide to share the Christmas turkey with the old lady down the road. If we leave all charitable activity up to governments, we will close our eyes to the vast array of needy causes that exist in the world. We will not develop our sense of responsibility with regard to others. Life is about working together, about reducing the difference between the rich and the poor, the sick and the well, the lonely and the loved. This is where charity is so important. Governments have to be charitable too.
Some of us take a delight in spreading bad news, or any news about other people. These may be people about whom we know relatively little or nothing. This kind of activity is usually of a negative sort. There is a kind of grim enjoyment about passing on news of another person’s misfortune. Sometimes characters can be damaged by gossip, because often those who gossip are those who are eager to judge too. They will add their opinion to the news item and as with ‘Chinese Whispers’ an opinion soon becomes a ‘fact’. An innocent person can have his or her reputation blackened by those who don’t mind gossiping. The answer is only to talk about people in a caring, loving way and if you do not care for them or love them, then their news is of no interest to you anyway and you do not need to repeat it.