You know that moment when you’ve spoke, no sooner do the words come out and a pit begins to develop in your stomach. That moment when you got caught up in conversation that is not uplifting and possibly isn’t even fact? The moment you realize, you have become a Gossip Girl!
Gossip: Casual or unconstrained conversation or reports about other people, typically involving details that are not confirmed as being true (Google Dictionary, 2014).
We live in a society that thrives on gossip. Think about every magazine you walk by in the grocery store. Larry Hackett, the editor of People, calls our need for gossip a public appetite for entertainment news. Magazines like People, Life & Style and OK sold more than a million copies a week on average last year.
But what about the multimedia opportunities for the gossip barrage. If you type in gossip on Google and press search you will get 1000’s of results detailing people’s lives with information that isn’t confirmed true or false.
It doesn’t matter how much Americans thrive on knowing every detail of celebrity news, your neighbor’s news or your pastor’s news…the results are harmful.
The reality is we all fall into the trap of gossiping at one point or another and we’ve all been gossiped about.
What are we as Christians called to do? We are asked to speak highly of one another, to encourage and to pray. We aren’t called to slander or to cause dissension.
Proverbs give us wisdom on gossip. Repeated incessantly for a reason Proverbs 16:28 warns: “A perverse man stirs up dissension, and a gossip separates close friends.”
Words can be hurtful, when we leave ourselves wide open to gossip we have the power to deflate someone and even lose a friendship.
James 3:5 teaches, “Likewise the tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts. Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark.”
When we take the time to participate in gossip we fuel the fire. We set into motion the possibilities to harm ourselves and others.
How do we avoid this hurt? We must pray. I don’t know about you but every night when I walk into work without praying I have left my heart open and susceptible to gossip. I have the power to talk untruths, to fan the flame and to damage someone.
We must be sensitive to the Holy Spirit, to listen when he says “DON’T SPEAK, change the subject, STOP TALKING or walk away.”
Our actions speak loudly. Whether you decide to turn gossip into encouragement and prayer, walking away so you are not a participant or apologizing when we’ve crossed the line, you can make a difference!
Speaking of praying: Sharing someone else’s prayer request without their permission is also gossip. How often have we heard, “I’m sharing this information so you can pray.” Yet we’ve opened the door for gossip, for character defamation and for the roomer to spread.
How do we stop Gossip? We only share the necessary information. We stop talking, remember with are controlled by the Holy Spirit and pray. We encourage and lift each other up.
I’ve seen a Facebook post over and over with this statement.
Before you speak let it pass through three gates.
- First gate: is it true?
- Second gate: is it necessary?
- Third gate: Is it kind?