Gossip is anything said about someone to someone that isn’t loving and kind and that you wouldn’t say directly to the person about whom you’re talking . . . you are gossiping.
Gossip hurts. If you’ve ever been the victim of gossip you know it hurts.
People gossip because of…
And unfortunately, the church is not immune to the problem of gossip.
Too often gossip is the “excused” sin . . . cloaked as a “prayer need” but motivated by pride and judgment.
But wherever gossip happens it hurts people and damages relationships.
That doesn’t sound like happiness to me.
If you’re looking for happiness – avoid gossip!
15 Ways to Avoid Gossip and Be Happy
1. Resolve that gossip is a sin.
Their lives became full of every kind of wickedness, sin, greed, hate, envy, murder, quarreling, deception, malicious behavior, and gossip. Romans 1:29
2. Respect everyone’s right to privacy.
Ignore celebrity gossip and personal gossip. It is never helpful or beneficial. Ever.
3. Mind your own business.
“The key to a drama free life is to stay humble and mind your own business.” ~ Author Unknown
4. Invite the gossiper to talk directly to the person they are concerned about.
Ask if they have started with Matthew 18 –“If another believer sins against you, go privately and point out the offense. If the other person listens and confesses it, you have won that person back.” v. 15
5. Remember it is never helpful to share details of someone else’s life.
Chances are you and I only have a fraction of the truth anyway.
“One who is kind is sympathetic and gentle with others. He is considerate of others’ feelings and courteous in his behavior. He has a helpful nature. Kindness pardons others’ weaknesses and faults. Kindness is extended to all – to the aged and the young, to animals, to those low of station as well as the high.” ~Ezra Taft Benson
6. You won’t repeat what you don’t know. Ask to not know.
7. Go into conversations with potential subject-changers. Be prepared.
“I resolve to speak ill of no man whatever, not even in a matter of truth; but rather by some means excuse the faults I hear charged upon others, and upon proper occasions speak all the good I know of everybody.” ~Benjamin Franklin
8. Be positive and kind . . . be known as the person who talks well of everyone.
They must not slander anyone and must avoid quarreling. Instead, they should be gentle and show true humility to everyone. Titus 3:2
9. Anticipate the potential fallout of shared gossip.
You can’t control what someone does with anything you tell them. Once gossip is shared it’s can spread like a wildfire.
“We always feel the brunt of the blow dealt to us, but hardly ever do we feel the impact we have on others. Why is that?” ~Richelle E. Goodrich
10. Picture yourself in the other person’s life . . . all of it, not just this tidbit.
When you haven’t lived their life it’s impossible to understand their decisions. Offer them the same grace and mercy you would like them to give you.
11. Ask yourself the benefit of sharing this information.
Can anything good come out of it. If the answer is “no,” keep it to yourself.
“There are two good rules which ought to be written on every heart; never to believe anything bad about anybody unless you positively know it to be true, and never to tell that unless you feel that it is absolutely necessary and that God is listening while you tell it.” ~Henry VanDyke
12. Resolve that every bit of gossip ends with you. Never speak negatively about anyone ever.
“How would your life be different if … You walked away from gossip and verbal defamation? Let today be the day…You speak only the good you know of other people and encourage others to do the same.” ~Steve Maraboli
13. Prayers don’t need details.
God knows the need even when the people praying do not. It is possible to pray for each other publicly without revealing secrets or sharing personal problems.
14. Ask yourself why you’re willing to harm this person? Then pray for them instead.
Notice, we never pray for folks we gossip about, and we never gossip about the folk for whom we pray! For prayer is a great deterrent. ~Leonard Ravenhill
15. Picture Jesus present at every conversation.
“Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Matthew 28:20
Finally, ASK yourself before you speak . . . Is it True? Is it Kind? Is it Necessary?
If it’s not – keep your mouth shut.
I think the following poem says it all.
My Name is Gossip ~Author Unknown
My name is Gossip.
I have no respect for justice.
I maim without killing.
I break hearts and ruin lives.
I am cunning and malicious and gather strength with age.
The more I am quoted the more I am believed.
I flourish at every level of society.
My victims are helpless.
They cannot protect themselves against me because I have no name and no face.
To track me down is impossible.
The harder you try, the more elusive I become.
I am nobody’s friend.
Once I tarnish a reputation, it is never the same.
I topple governments and ruin marriages.
I ruin careers and cause sleepless nights, heartache and indigestion.
I spawn suspicion and generate grief.
I make innocent people cry in their pillows.
Even my name hisses.
I AM CALLED GOSSIP.
Are you ready to join me?
Together we can avoid gossip and be happy?
Leave your prayer requests…
and pray for others who have left requests.
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