I’m nosey and I like people. I love learning about people and why they do what they do; how do they handle money and what’s in their refrigerator? Do they have any have good snacks? Will they share? These are things I want to know! Growing up in church, I could learn a lot about people during prayer time. Prayers could sound something like, “And Lord help sister Barbara who is suffering from a severed relationship with her son, because she is gonna kick him OUT unless he stops livin’ in sin with his girlfriend!” I learned a well-meaning prayer could easily morph into a little something called gossip. Isn’t it so fun to know something about some else that totally isn’t your business?
It’s much more entertaining to think about other people’s problems than my own. Proverbs 18:8 says, “The words of a gossip are like choice morsels; they go down to the inmost parts.” For me listening to gossip changes the lens I see people through. It turns into a judgmental, I-know-better-than-you color. I feel like I suddenly have insight to someone’s problem and what the solution should be. I definitely know what they did wrong and it’s so totally their fault! I think I have the whole story and don’t stop to think about the other person’s side. Or at least, this is who I used to be. Until I became the hot topic of Gossip-Fest 2015 I never realized how absolutely poisonous gossip can be.
If another believer sins against you, go privately and point out the offense. If the other person listens and confesses it, you have won that person back.
Confronting privately is hard for most people. It’s perceived as aggressive and feels scary. It’s easier to share with the world how someone has wronged you than to be vulnerable to the person who has hurt your heart deeply. I believe if we could master the art of healthy confrontation, gossip wouldn’t have such a big platform.
So you see, I offended A LOT of people in one big swoop. That’s talent my friends! The situation snowballed. More and more people became involved and it got messier and more confusing. The offended party responded by speaking poorly of me to anyone who would listen. Of course, I was the bad guy in their story. It was extraordinarily painful to have my character slandered and have people who were once close to me look at me with a judgmental, I-know-better-than-you-lens. Oh wait, it was extremely painful to deal with people who thought like ME!
Dear friends, I am guilty of the things I am also a victim of. The injustice of what was being said about me was more than my heart could take. I confronted privately, I confronted in counseling, but I also gossiped. In my version of the story, they are the bad guys. I did not apply the full use of wisdom because I wanted justice. I prided myself on being close to obeying God’s word in this scenario, which is kind of hilarious and sad.
I encourage you, friend, don’t be like me and nibble on the delicious dainty morsels of gossip. The aftertaste is very bitter. Proverbs 20:19 says, “He who goes about talking of the business of others gives away secrets: so have nothing to do with him whose lips are open wide.” Yikes! Have nothing to do with…me? I definitely knew I would not confide in this kind of person again, but was I also this kind of person? It hurt a little bit to look in the mirror when I read that.
Partnering with God’s word and listening for the Lord to give me a red-light/green-light with my words has drastically changed the way I talk, think, and what I will listen to about others. Sometimes I fail but I reconcile as quickly and as much as I can. I want to be a woman who speaks God truth, not the gossiper’s truth. Let’s call out in each other the identity we have in Christ because really, truly, that is who we are! Some of the best conversations I have with God is when I ask Him, “God, how do you see this person? What do you like about them?” I especially have to do this with people I feel hurt by. Try it out. You’ll feel your heart soften. And your words.