Updated: Nov 11, 2019
Whew! That’s a lot. Have you ever been on the receiving end of gossip or the initiator of gossip? I need to raise both hands and even kick my feet in the air because I HAVE BEEN BOTH. I can still identify myself as the initiator of gossip at times.
Let’s talk about gossip. The word alone sounds ugly.
Gossip: unwarranted awareness in other people’s business that has nothing to do with you.
Okay, so maybe that isn’t the Webster’s Dictionary version but I’m sure it’s something like that. It’s chatter when you don’t know how to mind ya own business. Why is holding back from gossip so difficult to do? I believe that when we’re gossiping about others it helps us take the focus off of OURSELVES. It helps prevent us from doing a heart check.
The Bible talks about gossip several times.
Proverbs 18:8 “The words of a gossip are like choice morsels; they go down to a man’s inmost parts.”
Proverbs 20:19 “Whoever goes about slandering reveals secrets; therefore do not associate with a simple babbler.”
Let’s think about what Proverbs 18:8 says. How often do we make excuses when it comes to gossip? Sometimes we like to say we’re just stating FACTS! Sometimes we can deceive ourselves into thinking we’re really doing the right thing by sharing information about others. Think about when you heard some juicy news about someone. Think about how you wanted to hear more about it and couldn’t resist listening to the person providing that information. Did your toes tingle getting the scoop on this person? Why is that?
We want to know what’s going on in everyone’s life. We want to know if they’re as flawless and as seemingly perfect as they seem on Facebook. Is it all a front? What is the real deal on this person? I think due to our own insecurities we find a sense of security when we hear a juicy secret about someone. Shameful huh? Think about what I said. A part of us feels good to hear something about another person, that is usually negative. It can develop self-righteousness.
We live in a fallen world, so we are filthy at our core. We get insecure and jealous. Even on our best days the Bible says, “We have all become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous deeds are like a polluted garment.” Isaiah 64:6. Yikes! That is how we measure up even when we think we had a good day.
Jeremiah 17:9 “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it?”
We are frail humans and we do have insecurities. We get puffed up about the most insignificant things. We waste time doing mundane things. We worry about our image on social media, and why so and so never likes our pictures. Of course we are curious about any inside information a person can share with us.
Gossip is a sin. It is poison. It has destroyed relationships; broken trust and it continues to do so. The results of gossip are devastating.
So, we know why we do it. How do we stop?
First and foremost we gotta shut it down. Stop it in its tracks. We all know the people who are gossipers, and if you are the gossiper then these little tips should be able to help you too.
When I see a person who I know enjoys some dirty slander, and I can’t conveniently remove myself from the situation when I see them coming, I find another place to be. That has worked for me several times. If you are the one gossiping instead of going around your usual crowd that enjoys listening as you slander others, take the time to pray.
Pray to God for strength to prepare you during your next interaction with the person you slander. It will be hard initially, and seem a bit foreign but with God’s help it can be done. Replace your hurtful words, with loving words about the person.
What about when the conversation that first starts off as insignificant chatter takes a hard right into full blown gossip? I’ve been in that situation and I know I became a bit frustrated thinking about how slick this person is for the conversation to start off with us talking about flowers to it closing with “you didn’t hear it from me though.” When faced with gossip we need to use wisdom and discernment. Where do we get this wisdom? We need to ask the Holy Spirit for wisdom. Brothers, and sisters we should have constant conversations with God all the time. All throughout our days, even if it just a quick touch base. When you are right in the midst of situations like this pray to Him. Ask him for wisdom.
What else can we do when that happens? We remove ourselves from the conversation. If this is not a brother or sister that you can lovingly correct about gossiping then remove yourself from the conversation. If this is a brother or sister gossiping then it is your duty to correct them. You are commanded to do so. Do it lovingly, but firmly. I was recently reading a book about a woman who disliked gossip so much, that when someone started speaking ill of another she would put her coat on and collect her things.The gossiper would become confused as to why she was leaving mid story. The woman would respond “Oh, I am going to see so and so, just to verify all that you are saying.” That stops people in their tracks. Don’t add your input or engage in any slander with them. Simply remove yourself from the situation.
Okay, if ALL of that doesn’t work, what I choose to do is put it back on the party. You would be amazed at the expressions you receive when you sit and listen to someone rip someone else’s character up and then ask them if they have shared their thoughts with the person they are gossiping about. Here are some of the excuses I’ve heard from these gossips.
“Well, I was going to but I got busy.” (Not too busy since you made time to chop it up with me.)
“I’ve tried talking to them; they don’t listen.” (And if at first you don’t succeed TRY AGAIN.)
“No, I don’t want to cause any drama.” (Long blank stare….)
If you have heard an unsavory comment about someone let it die with you. Don’t give it anymore life by sharing it with someone else.
If you are the initiator of gossip and are bringing the body into it you are in deep sin.
Matthew 18:7 “Woe to the world for temptation to sin! For it is necessary that temptations
come but woe to the one by whom the temptation comes.”
The Bible says another believer leading another believer to sin is better off dead. (Romans 14:13, 21)
The Bible tells us how God wants us to live in sync with one another even when we disagree.
“Love each other as I have loved you.” John 15:12
How do we speak to our brothers and sisters? Is it in love? That is the only way we should speak about the body even when we are correcting them. Always with love.
“Behold how good and pleasant it is when brothers dwell in unity.” Psalm 133:1
We know that gossip grieves the Holy Spirit and anything that grieves the Holy Spirit should not be something a believer engages in.
Brethren, we are called to love one another. We are made in the image of God. We should not be spending our time tearing down what God has created. We be spending our time furthering the kingdom, sharing the gospel, encouraging one another. When you look at your coworkers, members of your church, or even your family as humans that were created in the image of God that should change the way you speak about them. Think about when you were the topic of gossip? How lovely would it have been for someone to show you some grace? Think of that person as God sees them and show them grace. I read a poem by an anonymous author that rang true for me. Here is a snippet of it.
Is it true?
Is it harmless?
Is it necessary?
If it isn’t, why repeat it?
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