Overcoming the Temptation of Gossip

It is astounding how words, often dismissed as insignificant, can cause immense pain and leave lasting wounds. I find it perplexing that someone once propagated the notion that "sticks and stones may hurt my bones, but words will never hurt me." On the contrary, words possess the power to cut deep into our souls. The wounds inflicted by careless or malicious gossip can be excruciating, especially when they come from individuals we hold in high regard. 

Gossip, with its deceptive nature, creeps into our conversations subtly, making it crucial for us to remain vigilant and guard our tongues. Being aware and reflecting on our actions is crucial to prevent gossip from spreading and causing harm to ourselves and those, around us.

Slander and gossip seem to be pervasive, in our society with no shortage of rumors circulating. 
 All of us have, at some point been the victims of hurtful gossip and all of us have been the issuer of gossip or the entertainer of gossip.

Proverbs 11;13 serves as a reminder of the difference, between someone who gossips and someone who can be trusted; "A gossip breaks a confidence but a trustworthy individual keeps secrets." Whenever we engage in gossip we betray the trust others have placed in us. We end up spreading information sharing rumors and sensational details that falsely empower us. It's crucial to acknowledge that gossip often arises from a lack of unity and the need to fit into a group fostering a sense of solidarity through an "us, versus them" mentality.

Where there is no sense of belonging or unity, gossip can provide a superficial feeling of cohesion, in the ‘us against them’ division.

A busybody - This is a person who meddles in the affairs of others. They are snoops and spies who are always trying to dig up dirt on others. They love rumours and take great delight in uncovering sensational details they can spread to give themselves a feeling of power. They are very clever at how they elicit information from others. They often act as two-faced double agents who use cunning and flattery to gather information while appearing innocent and angelic. Usually busybodies have too much time on their hands, and they go from one person to another seeking information about others as if they themselves have no faults...their phones are always ringing. They are nothing more than "peeping-toms" who uncover private things that are none of their business.

Prayer requests - This is a huge problem! The gossipers for every time someone has come to me and  shared a "prayer concern" disclosing personal details about someone else's life. This is nothing more than an angelic mask covering a sinister plot. If we are sharing gossip in the form of "prayer requests" we are only deceiving ourselves. This subtle form of gossip is perhaps the most damaging because many Christians justify this sin as "concern" or a "burden". Busybodies who have perfected their craft appear innocent, but their constant whispering opens the door for the enemy to meddle in the affairs of God's people, and such sin will be exposed. We mustn't kid ourselves. God is not mocked regarding such manipulation and false pretenses.  There's no other way to say it, pretentious concern is still nothing but cleverly masquerading gossip. And what's more, if you listen to such things and remain silent you are just as guilty.

Unloading a heavy heart - Many times a gossip will seek you out as a "prayer partner" where they will unload a heavy heart and personal concerns. They say things like: "I'm so burdened for so-and-so and I just don't know who else to talk to about it." The truth is that gossips would rather discuss dirty details than discovering a solution. "A perverse man stirs up dissension, and a gossip separates close friends" (Proverbs 16:28). A gossip thrives on negativity and loves to stir up drama wherever he goes. Anyone who is generally concerned with a prayer burden, will go privately to confront that person and express his concerns. Or he should privately go to the pastor or elders so they can directly address the problem. It's important to realize that the longer the gossip continues the deeper the web is entangled, and the more damage will occur.

The bottom line is clear: if it's not your business, you have no business sharing it, even if it's good news.  

As followers of Christ, we are called to be bearers of love, grace, and compassion. Ephesians 4:29 reminds us, "Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear." It's crucial to understand that the longer rumors circulate the complicated and damaging the situation becomes.

The key point is straightforward; if something doesn't concern you it's best not to spread it even if its news.

As followers of Christ we have a responsibility to embody love, grace and compassion. By doing so, we can contribute to a world where kindness, understanding, and grace abound, fostering deeper connections and genuine relationships built on a foundation of trust and respect.

Proverb 11:13 reads, "A talebearer revealeth secrets: but he that is of a faithful spirit concealeth the matter." Do you have a faithful spirit? Or are you a troublemaker who enjoys hurting others with your mouth?

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