Last month we discussed the negative effects of gossip and said that we have either listened to gossip, spread it, or been the victim of it, thereby we coined four phrases to describe what happens when gossip shows up:
I heard it
I told it
I used it
I felt it
I told it!
All of us are guilty of telling something we heard. Sometimes we feel that it’s so juicy that we have to tell it—and then we feel justified by saying “Don’t tell anybody” or “You didn’t hear it from me”. Shamefully so, it seems that we are so ready to spread bad news or embarrassing news about others. Of ten our conversations about others are full of judgments and accusations—but really—who are we and what right do we have to behave this way?
In Romans 1:28-32 the Lord lists gossip together with the untrustworthy, unloving, unrighteous, murderers, and haters of God—wow! Who would have thought that the harmless little gossip we spread would have that kind of reaction from the Lord? Well, it does—sharing anything about someone that does not help or edify may be considered gossip. If God can’t get glory out of it—it shouldn’t be spread.
Proverbs 11:13 says “A talebearer reveals secrets, but he who is of a faithful spirit conceals a matter.”
What are we telling, ladies? Why are we constantly running one another down or sharing everything we hear about someone—and all of know that by the time the story has been brought to us—it has been changed drastically and then by the time we pass it on—by the time it reaches its final destination the truth has been distorted and stretched so wide! The original story is unrecognizable!
How many times did we “promise” not to say anything only to repeat it to someone else? Our integrity is on the line when we share what others have told us in confidence. People’s lives can be ruined by what comes out of our mouths. Our best bet is to keep our mouths shut and pray that our words are a blessing and not a hindrance and when information is hurtful and harmful to someone we must not accept it but rather speak against it in love.
I used it!
Have you ever used something you heard against someone to hurt them or get back at them for something they did to you? You’re right in the middle of a disagreement and you respond by saying, “Well I heard that you did so and so….” or someone you don’t like has attacked you and you use what you’ve heard against them to further dig a ditch for them. Nehemiah 9:17 instructs us that we are to be gracious, kind, merciful and forgiving. To possess graciousness is to show God’s love through us—stop spreading the gossip around and then use it against others!