The Truth About Gossip

The Truth About Gossip -  By Shavonta Arline

Just then, I bet your ears perked up, you can't wait to hear what I'm about to say. I've heard those words a thousand times (and probably said them just as many). Those eager words, dripping with the juiciness of some sweet morsel of info that you just have to hear, words that often creep up out of nowhere and bring a dull, dry conversation to life. They turn many eager heads toward them, waiting, anticipating, practically dying to know just what it is.
And then it comes, the newest info on who got arrested, who got fired, who saw who's mate with another person. You take it all in, give your two cents, judge the parties involved, and feel as though you are a special member of an exclusive club, completely oblivious and without care as to the validity and truthfulness of the "news" you've just heard, all you know if that you just got the scoop and your "in the loop." When the conversation is over, you hang up the phone, only to dial the number of another friend. As soon as she picks up, "Girrrrrrl...guess what?!?" And it starts all over again.
Its gossip. More likely than not, you've engaged in it, sometimes against your better judgment and sometimes shamelessly. It's everywhere around us, at the water cooler in the break room at work, at your luncheon with your best girlfriends and even at the checkout in your grocery store you can't help but see all the celebrity magazines telling you who is getting divorced, having plastic surgery or making a serious fashion violation.
Gossip has become such a part of our daily lives and our culture that many of us may not be able to see the ugliness that it truly is. Why? Because a lot of times, when we get to sit around and talk about other people's jacked up lives, it makes us feel good about ourselves and momentarily forget about the pile of dirty laundry sitting in our closets. We gloat a little, shake our head "girl I just can't believe that mess" (even though deep down you really can, because just six months ago, you were knee deep in plenty mess of your own). Many times we don't think we've done anything wrong, after all, we just got done "bonding" with our friends right? Wrong.
The Word of God says something very different about gossip. Proverbs 20:19 tells us that "A gossip betrays a confidence; so avoid a man who talks too much." Have you ever heard someone say "If ________ will tell you somebody else's business, then they'll tell yours too?" it's true...there is no trust or confidence in a gossip. People who live to run their mouths about things that don't concern them can't be your real friend because you can never know what they will say behind your back. And if a person's primary topic of conversation is other people, it could be an indication that they are trying to hide things about themselves or aren't completely comfortable in the skin they're in. People who are truly about noble causes and the business of our Heavenly Father are too busy loving others and doing it up for The Kingdom to be involved in such messy habits.
So what should you do if you happen to find yourself around gossip or tempted to gossip?
1. Take a minute to pray and ask the Holy Spirit to assist you in overcoming this ugly habit that tears friendships apart and disseminates lies.
2. Say a prayer for the parties involved. If you hear something that is particularly off the wall, think about what those individuals really need during this time, probably not your messy mouth spreading their business, and ask the Lord to meet them where they are and supply their needs.
3. Think of a time when you were experiencing a difficult time, or participated in some unwarranted foolishness that graciously went unmentioned (and we've all done something trifling) and think about how you would feel if people where talking about you and putting their own spin on the skeletons in your closet.
4. Pray for healing; there is a saying that "hurt people hurt people" meaning that maybe you have been a victim of gossip at some point in your life and you feel that you have a right to speak in such a manner about others, especially if they have done the same to you. However, rather than do that, we should go to our Heavenly Father, ask that He would heal the wounds and scars in our hearts and lead us to loving others, not tearing them down with ugly rumors and lies.
5. If you have friends that gossip, refuse to participate, or consider carefully evaluating whether or not you should be keeping company with such people. Without condemning or judging, really think about how healthy such friendships are. If you really want to help them, you could have a conversation and discuss how harmful gossip is. Not sure what to say? Pray and ask the Holy Spirit for gentle words, that you may minister to them and strengthen the bonds of your friendship. If they get offended and cut you off? Well, we just have to love and elevate people in prayer from a distance sometimes.
We are supposed to be women on the move, pursing Godly ambitions and being a beacon of light in our Father's image. The last time I checked, nowhere in the Proverbs 31 description did I read "She stirs up gossip and distension in the town square; she shares the company of slanderers." No ma'am that is NOT the woman you want to be.
As you are reading this article, if you feel in your heart that you have a problem with gossip and you want to stop. Take a minute to say this prayer.
Dear Heavenly Father,
As a child of the Most High it is my desire to be an example of love and compassion towards my fellow sisters and brothers in Christ. Please give me the grace to use my words to spread love amongst people and not lies and rumors. When I hear gossip, please give me the strength to turn in the other direction and not participate in that which would serve to ruin relationships, help me to be a glue that binds people together and not tear people down. Help me to be someone that people can trust and confide in, fully confident that I can maintain the integrity of my word and that I may know that as a woman of God, gossip has no place on my lips or in my relationships.
In Jesus' name I pray.
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