Your individual happiness depends to large extent upon protecting yourself and your family from the evil results of gossiping. See no evil, speak no evil, hear no evil, think no evil, feel no evil. Most people can talk about other people for hours and thrive under the influence of gossip like the temporary influence of intoxicating poisonous wine. Isn’t it strange that people can smoothly, joyously, and with caustic criticism talk about the faults of others for hours but cannot endure reference to their own faults at all?
If you do not like to talk about your own faults, if it hurts you to do so, you certainly should feel more hurt when saying unkind, harmful things about other people. Train yourself and each member of your family to refrain from talking about others. “Judge not, that ye be not judged.”
By giving publicity to a man’s weakness, you do not help him. Instead, you either make him wrathful or discouraged, and you shame him, perhaps forever, so that he gives up trying to be good. When you take away the sense of dignity from a person by openly maligning him, you make him desperate.
When a man is down, he is too well aware of his own wickedness. By destructive criticism, you push him still farther down into the mire of despondency into which he is already sinking. Instead of gossiping about him, you should pull him out with loving, encouraging words. Only when aid is asked should spiritual and moral help be offered. To your own children or loved ones you may offer your friendly, humble suggestions at any time and thus remove their sense of secrecy or delicacy.
— November 1936