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It started with a whisper

How to deal with gossip

It started with a whisper, moments before church service was to start. The words spoken between the two ladies sitting in front of me were like bullets from a gun of a resentful soul and fragments of bitterness flew in every direction. I knew the person they were talking about and wondered if they said those kinds of things about me. It was a disturbing thought. What do you say in a situation like that? Do you tell them a verse from the bible about Gossip? Do you defend the person they're talking about? or sit silently and do nothing?

I did nothing. I'd gotten tangled up in the web of gossip before, it cost me dearly and I didn't want to make that mistake again. But the situation upset me so much I went to my pastor and told him what happened. He said. 'Never talk about someone who isn't present to defend themselves." Gossip isn't about those who are present but those who are not.

I left his office with a new understanding about gossip but felt bad for not defending the person being gossiped about. But still had no idea what to say in a situation like that, so I did some research.

and I discovered

Tale bearing is not only destructive to those who speak it but those who listen as well. Gossip is based on false perceptions, assumptions and critical attitudes which are rooted in lies. The goal of the gossiper is to get other people to agree with them and have following things in common

  1. They're usually insecure,
  2. Don't respect personal boundaries or have any of their own.
  3.  They may have a hard time communicating, so they repeat what they hear in order to fit in,
  4. . They have a strong need to feel important and powerful.
  5.  They use the information they hear to manipulate others for their own benefit.
  6.  They gain a sense of self-righteousness by pointing out the mistakes and weakness of others.
  7.  They may also use a prayer chain as a vehicle to justify their need to gossip.
  8.  Those who gossip, do so because they have an audience who listens.

Matthew Henry’s commentary says this about those who gossip. “They are unprincipled people who go about carrying stories that make mischief among neighbors and relations…Be not familiar with such; do not give them the hearing when they tell their tales and reveal secrets, for you may be sure that they will betray your secrets too and tell tales of you”

I've experienced the consequences of gossip as well as the pain of being gossiped about. So, now I try to choose my words carefully. I try to say things that encourage, compliment and show kindness to others. And I don't spend time with people who gossip. It's a choice! The following scriptures and advice helped me learn to avoid the trap of gossip, gave me the courage to take a stand against it and defend the one being gossiped about and I hope it will help you too.

  1. James 1:19 “My dear brother’s take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to wrath. . . This means we should be quick to hear Gods word, apply it to life
  2.  A Gossip betrays confidence so avoid a man who talks too much”.{Proverbs 20:19}
  3.  Stop and think before you speak. Ask yourself if what you’re about to say will build someone up or tear them down.  If you’re angry take time to cool down before discussing the matter further.
  4. Remember Christ lives within you. He has enabled you to overcome any temptation that may arise.  I Cor. 10:13
  5. Always spend time in prayer and the Word before you counsel anyone
  6. Think about things that are true, lovely and of good report. Phil 4:8
  7. Do not listen or participate in a conversation with those who gossip.
  8. If you hear gossip stop it, by taking the person aside and gently remind them they are gossiping and pray with them.
Lady J.

Now it's your turn. How do you handle gossipers or being gossiped about?

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