An Adventure in Proverbs - Chapter 18 - I never thought about it like that

Everyone knows that gossiping is wrong. It is verbally assassinating someone's character. Even small children figure this out pretty quickly.  Here are a couple of great quotes about gossip:

“Gossip is just a tool to distract people who have nothing better to do from feeling jealous of those few of us still remaining with noble hearts.”  Anna Godbersen, Splendor

“Great minds discuss ideas. Average minds discuss events. Small minds discuss people.”     - Henry Thomas Buckle

This isn't new information. Don't gossip. Don't speak badly about people. Don't say things behind someone's back that you wouldn't say to their face.  All of this I knew. But this morning I read verse 8 in Proverbs 18 and for the first time it jumped out at me.

"The words of a gossip are like choice morsels;
    they go down to the inmost parts."  NIV

Here is the message version, which is a little more colorful:

"Listening to gossip is like eating cheap candy;
    do you really want junk like that in your belly?"  MSG

While I knew better than to spread gossip, I had never really thought about what listening to it does to me. I know it hurts others, but does just listening harm me?  Maybe that's why the Message version resonated so well because of its use of the phrase "cheap candy". I know how cheap candy makes me feel........ terrible. I won't even go near cheap candy because I know it's not worth it.  The reality is I don't feel the same way about listening to gossip. While I may not be an habitual gossiper I am probably a regular gossip listener, which is not only harming me but is giving the actual gossiper a chance to harm someone else, not to mention themselves. I hadn't ever thought about it like that before.