First thing in the morning I get an email from one close family member informing me what another close family member said to her about me last night. Moments later, the originating family member happens to phone me, so I ask her if she would like to tell me directly what she said about me to my other close family member. The whole vicious circle took a mere 12 hours to complete.
In the worldwide culture of sin that Satan fosters, we tend to do things precisely backward. We go to Person B with our concerns and hurts regarding Person A, instead of simply going to Person A-which might actually do some good (Matthew 18:15).
The family member who had a lot to say about me was embarrassed when I confronted her, but I could not very well be proud and indignant. Why? Because of this:
"Do not take to heart all the things that people say, lest you hear your servant cursing you. Your heart knows that many times you have yourself cursed others" (Ecclesiastes 7:21-22).
Or as Paul says, I have done all the very things I accuse other people of doing (Romans 2:1).
In C.S. Lewis' The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, Lucy gets her hands on a Magic book and starts flipping through, reading the spells, though she has a strong feeling that she should not. She gets to a page that offers to show her what her friends really think of her and gives in to the desire for that knowledge. (Remember the tree of the knowledge of good and evil?)
Lucy ends up very disappointed to "see" two of her friends trashing her on a train ride, one out of meanness, the other out of fear of man. Aslan tells her that she was wrong to eavesdrop, and that Marjorie really does love her but is weak. Still, the information will change the girls' relationship somewhat from here on in.
You and I can stop the vicious circle at any point we want to. Even if our great-grandmothers were gossipers and our grandmothers were gossipers and our mothers were gossipers, we can stop the generational sin in its tracks-today. That is the power of Christ in us:
"… Conduct yourselves with fear throughout the time of your exile, knowing that you were ransomed from the futile ways inherited from your fathers ... with the precious blood of Christ …" (1 Peter 1:17-19).