Sunday, July 1, 2012

Five Reasons Not to Gossip and How to Stop It

Here at One Ringing Bell, we usually don’t write many “how-to” posts, but a burden on our heart has led us to write about this topic, something each of us deals with almost every day. Hope this is helpful.

Five Reasons Not to Gossip

1.  Gossip makes us untrustworthy. If we gossip, the people we’re in relationship with will wonder if we’re talking about them to others, too. So, they’re less likely to share their heart, and more likely to put up a wall to avoid being hurt. And for that reason—

2.  Gossip erodes relationships. Gossiping doesn’t bind friends together, but puts a wedge between them. Either we have done it ourselves or someone we know has divulged some secret about another thinking it would create intimacy. It doesn’t. Gossip casts a long shadow over any relationship.

3.  Gossip hurts. It hurts the person telling it, the one to whom it’s told, any who may overhear, and of course the poor soul it’s told about. And once it’s out there, it’s out there. It’s too bad we can’t capture our words, and pack them back in a box after we let go of some juicy tidbit. But we can’t, and often sour words take on a life of their own. Gossip doesn’t just hurt for a moment, but sometimes hurts for a lifetime.

4.  Gossip is disobedience. “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” (Ephesians 4:29). If we measured every word we spoke by these standards, many of our words would be edited out by the Holy Spirit’s divine hand. I love how The Message translates this verse: “Watch the way you talk. Let nothing foul or dirty come out of your mouth. Say only what helps, each word a gift.” If we saw the words we speak as gifts to the people around us, would we be giving them beautiful packages tied with lovely bows, or paper sacks of crud?

5.  Gossip breaks God’s heart. When we talk about another precious soul God has created, we hurt the Father. The Message again from Psalm 133, “How wonderful, how beautiful, when brothers and sisters get along….that’s where God commands the blessing, ordains eternal life.” God longs for us to dwell together in unity. Gossip fractures that unity, and aborts the blessings that God longs to give us.

So how do we stop it?          

Someone once defined what it means to gossip as passing on personal information about another to someone who is neither part of the problem or part of the solution.
We need to ask ourselves if the person to whom we’re telling someone else's private information is part of the problem or solution. If they aren’t, then we might need to question our motives.

And really, what is anyone’s motive for gossiping? Usually, it’s some crying need of our own heart. Some yearning for acceptance, love, or recognition. God longs to fill these needs himself and asks us to bow in surrender to Him.

The best way to stop speaking words which hurt, is to pray this scripture:

If we pray this prayer, we may be certain that when we start to speak what we shouldn’t, the Holy Spirit will exert gentle pressure. Now, He’s not going to slam us with a two by four, but gently in that still, small voice, we’ll hear Him whisper, “Stop.”

Then we have the opportunity to simply close our mouths and give thanks to the gracious God who cares about every word we speak.

What comes out of our mouths is really all about our relationship with Him.

Oh, to be walking so closely with Jesus, that truly every word we speak would be a gift to those around us. 

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