We have all either said that or been totally enticed by that statement at one point in our lives. I am not proud to say that I have done both. I could give you the most common excuses — I was a teenage girl and that is what girls do; I was mad that I was wronged; I just had to tell someone, etc. etc. etc. However, let’s be real, it is gossip no matter which way you try to excuse it and gossip is wrong. The bible tells us this in several places.
A man who lacks judgment derides his neighbor, but a man of understanding holds his tongue. A gossip betrays a confidence, but a trustworthy man keeps a secret”
“A perverse man stirs up dissension, and a gossip separates close friends”
Over the years I have found myself in situations where someone is gossiping and I was not sure how to shut it down without sounding rude or judgmental. Now, pause there for one second. If someone feels it OK to gossip about a friend of mine, I have never had an issue telling them to stop, and keeping it real, did not care if I came across rude.
But what about those times where someone begins to talk ill of another person and you do not want to help it grow but you also do not know how to “politely” stop it. You always have the choice if you want to listen to, encourage or spread gossip. Just tell them it is not something your comfortable hearing. If they do not stop, then get away from that environment.
James 4:11-12 says “Do not speak evil against one another, brothers. The one who speaks against a brother or judges his brother, speaks evil against the law and judges the law. But if you judge the law, you are not a doer of the law but a judge. There is only one lawgiver and judge, he who is able to save and to destroy. But who are you to judge your neighbor”
Gossip usually leads to what I call ugly talk. Your language can completely change your appearance. One of my personal pet peeves is cussing, especially in teens and extra especially in girls (I know double standard). When I was in high school a friend of mine NEVER cussed. I asked her one time, because a teen who did not cuss then was super noticeable, why she never said any cuss words. Her response left me speechless (shocking I know).
She told me that when she heard others cuss they sounded uneducated to her and she did want others viewing her like that. That conversation has stayed with me since that day. I am nowhere near perfect and have said an ugly word on more than one occasion but I do strive to hold myself to a higher standard and not sound “uneducated”.
Ephesians 4:29: “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.“
So the point to all this: talk about others with high regard, encourage others and defend others when they are not there to defend themselves. It only takes a moment to change the conversation, say something nice about another person, or simply walk away and show you choose not to gossip.
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