Gossip can be one of the most hurtful things imaginable, and this is one of the reasons this Maxim advises us to avoid it – and avoid gossips. When you listen to gossip, especially negative gossip, you are contributing to the harm of others by encouraging those who spread it. Most of us can remember times when we were at the receiving end of the rumor mill and how we felt when the hurtful words got back to us
Because of this we are told to actively avoid people who spread this form of gossip with the Maxim using a term for them that is translated as ‘devil’ in English. Slanderers/gossips can only do what they do if we allow them – either by not correcting their lies or by listening to them. We are culpable if we do not actively pursue the truth through a process of asking those directly involved rather than listening to the ‘grapevine’ which will not be able to give us all of the facts.
I personally feel very strongly about this Maxim as a slanderer does not only harm the person they slander, but often times their entire family. Having had to deal with a slanderer myself has made me much more cautious about ANY gossip by asking myself ‘what is the motive for telling me this’.