You start out conversing with someone and before you know it the conversation has taken you down the slippery slope of gossip. It can begin quite innocently! You start out by friendly chatter... and then someone asks a question about another person and before you know where you are the conversation is full of juicy morsels of unkind words and horrible gossip. Truth be told, we have probably all been guilty of going down that road and sometimes enjoying it more than we should have. But, generally speaking the after taste in your mouth is extremely unpleasant because you have said things that you should never have voiced.
So before you gossip next time please consider the following
- Are you talking to the right person? If you need to speak to someone about a particular issue then make sure you are speaking to the right person. Generally when you are speaking to someone else about another person it tends to lead to gossip. Not always...but most times!
- Are you enjoying the conversation? Is it making you feel good to vent about this particular person? Are you feeling satisfied about what you are saying? When you are unkind about a person and feel good about venting and being unkind and critical it is just plain old gossip!
- Are you couching your gossip behind spiritual language? Often times the conversation begins in a spiritual way: "I am looking for some advise about...?" Or worse still: "Can we pray about..."
- Are you full of rancor? If you are then you are gossiping. Saying something unkind about anyone when they are not present is without a doubt gossip. That is unkind and divisive.
- Would Jesus approve of what you are saying? That is a fairly simple question...right? Then next time you are tempted to say something unkind about someone ask yourself this question.
- When last did you pray for this person? Imagine if all the time you spend in slander you spent in prayer for this person. It would make a difference...in them and in you!
- Will the person you are talking to be able to help the situation? Another easy question...right? If they cannot help the person you are talking about, quit talking to them.
- Will the person you are talking about be helped by your conversation? If the answer is a resounding "NO!" then it is gossip.
The world would be a much happier place without gossip-mongers. Let me assure you that no gossip has ever produced any good. Honest conversations and speaking the truth in love to the person will achieve far more than gossip ever will.
So next time you are tempted to gossip, walk away, stop the conversation or challenge the gossiper. Gossip destroys lives, sows conflict, raises doubts, causes suspicion, alienates friends, and shatters communities. Who wants to be guilty of any of those results? Proverbs 18:8 "The words of a gossip are choice morsels; they go down to the inmost parts."
I love Proverbs 25:11 "A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in a settingof silver." Will your words be healing or destructive?
Think before you gossip? Your words are more impactful than you think! Make sure your words are wise, kind, and fitting. Give someone a golden apple today and see what a difference it will make.
I am and always will be,
recklessly abandoned, ruthlessly committed and in relentless pursuit of Jesus,