How do we go about dealing with gossip? Are you caught up in being a gossip girl? What is the line between sharing information and gossiping with our friends anyway? As a follower of Christ, how can our words be pleasing to God?
"May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight O Lord my Rock and my Redeemer." Psalm 19:14
These were some questions I recently asked myself.
I was talking with a friend who said one of the things her boyfriend can't stand is gossip. She then described a recent situation with her friend which she said bordered on gossip. They were catching up with each other and sharing about people they knew. As they started to talk about other people, it drifted further and further down the road of gossip.
As she was talking to me, God started convicting my heart about this topic.
So I asked myself...
Immediately, I thought of some situations at work where I was talking about someone else's shortcomings and faults to another employee. Oh boy...the conviction started to get stronger. Then I thought about conversations I have with my mom about others. Getting stronger still. Another conversation with my boss... busted!
It was no use trying to hide it any longer.
I knew God was uncovering something in my heart that I needed to deal with. I asked myself:
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I began to realize that gossip is not only an issue for me, but for so many girls today. Our culture lifts up and approves of gossip on all levels. It's as if we are encouraged to become a "Gossip Girl." Magazines are sold around the topic of gossip, TV shows are centered around all the latest celeb gossip, websites revolve around gossip, etc. etc.
So, what should we do? Should we lay aside our gossip girl mentality?
Anytime I wonder what to do, my first knee jerk reaction is to go to the Bible. Why? Because I trust it and I live my life by it.
There are actually many, many references to gossip, the tongue and the power of our words in the Bible. This is a topic God knew we needed to hear. He knows that our words hold power and influence.
James 3:5-6a,9-10 says, "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. The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body...With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in God's likeness. Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers, this should not be."
Are you ready to dig in and do a little reading?
Unless otherwise noted, all the references are taken from the NIV translation.
Proverbs 11:13, "A gossip betrays a confidence, but a trustworthy man keeps a secret."
Proverbs 16:28, "A perverse man stirs up dissension, and a gossip separates close friends."
Proverbs 20:19, "A gossip betrays a confidence; so avoid a man who talks too much."
Ouch! This one gets to me....I don't want people to avoid me because I tend to talk too much!
Proverbs 26:20, "Without wood a fire goes out; without gossip a quarrel dies down."
2 Corinthians 12:20, "For I am afraid that when I come I may not find you as I want you to be, and you may not find me as you want me to be. I fear that there may be quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, factions, slander, gossip, arrogance and disorder."
Titus 3:1-2 (AMP), "Remind people to....be prepared and willing to do any upright and honorable work, to slander or abuse or speak evil of no one, to avoid being contentious, to be forbearing (yielding, gentle, and conciliatory), and to show unqualified courtesy toward everybody."
Psalm 34:12-13, "Whoever of you loves life and desires to see many good days, keep your tongue from evil and your lips from speaking lies."
Psalm 39:1, "I said, 'I will watch my ways and keep my tongue from sin; I will put a muzzle on my mouth as long as the wicked are in my presence.'"
Proverbs 10:19, 21a, "When words are many, sin is not absent, but he who holds his tongue is wise...The lips of the righteous nourish many."
Wow...I think Proverbs 10:19 needs to be my new memory verse!
Proverbs 12:18, "Reckless words pierce like a sword, but the tongue of the wise brings healing."
Proverbs 15:4, "The tongue that brings healing is a tree of life, but a deceitful tongue crushes the spirit."
Proverbs 21:23, "He who guards his mouth and his tongue keeps himself from calamity."
James 1:26-27, "If anyone considers himself religious and yet does not keep a tight rein on his tongue, he deceives himself and his religion is worthless. Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.
James 1:19-21, "My dear brothers, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, for man's anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires. Therefore, get rid of all moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent and humbly accept the word planted in you, which can save you."
Slow to speak...that seems like the opposite of what this world teaches us we should do, doesn't it.
Usually the most popular girl is the one who always has something to say. The one who is outgoing and extroverted. And not the one who is slow to speak. Yet, this is what God encourages us to be. Good listeners instead of good talkers. Hmmmm...something to think about.
So, I asked myself a few other questions about the gossip girl in me.
Once we know we have a problem, the next step is to do something about.
Shelley has a heart for teen girls that began from her own journey of finding her true beauty in Christ. She is currently serving God by helping other Christians learn to let their light shine.
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