Recently I completed a quick analysis of my strengths and weaknesses. Unfortunately, weaknesses are often much easier for me to identify in myself than strengths. Can you relate? In this particular case, I was considering strengths with regard to what God expects from me and I proudly patted myself on the back and thought, “You know, I really am not a person who gossips.” Ahem…in this moment the Holy Spirit did a little tap dance on my toes…or maybe He was even hip-hopping. He quickly showed me that while I may not generally initiate gossip, I have certainly been guilty of participating, even if often in indirect ways or in ways where no ill-intentions were meant. Ephesians 4:29 states, “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.” (ESV)
Here are some things my Spirit convicted me of as I was thinking of this topic…
There have been times when I have started a conversation saying, “I do not know if this is true so take it for what it is worth.” Um…”it” is worth nothing! If I am getting ready to share information and do not even know if what I am sharing is true, most likely this is not my information to share! Sisters, whether your news is gossip or gospel, if the story you are about to relay to another person does not directly involve you…swallow those words and do not ever let them rear their ugly heads again. The exception to this advice would be if you fear a friend is in danger and do not know if you have the whole story, tell a trusted adult who can look into the situation further.
Another time I find myself getting into trouble with gossip is when I try to fill awkward silence. I am the world’s worst! As I have gotten older, my totally extroverted self has turned into an introverted extrovert. If I am in a social situation and a conversation goes silent…I JUST CAN’T TAKE IT. Rather than excusing myself and going on my merry way, I start to overcompensate for the silence and become the world’s greatest rambler. I have found myself leaving situations asking, “What in the world just happened? Why did I just say that?” 1 Timothy 5:13, “Besides that, they learn to be idlers, going about from house to house, and not only idlers, but also gossips and busybodies, saying what they should not.” (ESV)
Here is what I know I can do instead of letting myself get caught up in gossip…
I can take each thought captive before letting anything unwise or ungodly spill off my tongue.
I can practice being a better listener instead of always needing to be the one who talks.
I can excuse myself from any conversation where unhealthy chatter arises. Philippians 4:8, “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about those things.” (ESV)
Will you join me? If we are going to spread any kind of news from here on out, let’s spread the news of the love of our Savior…until all have heard <3.