“But avoid irreverent babble, for it will lead people into more and more ungodliness and their talk will spread like gangrene…” 2 Timothy 2:16-17
Gossip…I cringe when I hear that word, but I have gossiped with the best of them. I have gossiped about people who I know, loved and hated. I have read my fair share of gossip columns or watched entertainment shows about celebrities. Who doesn’t want to get the dirt on someone? It is our selfish nature to compete and feel better about ourselves. But when you are on the receiving end of it, it is devastating and hurtful.
It was a new school year for my child and I noticed that a particular student was not at school. I asked around, but truly for concern, because they literally dropped off from the face of the earth. Everyone had their ideas of what happened but no real answers. Then one day, I drove past their home (which was in the neighborhood of the school) and saw people with what looked like Hazmat suits rummaging through their belongings. It appeared to have been a clean up crew that would go in once a home was abandoned. The first thing that entered my mind was, I have to tell someone!
However, immediately, I felt this jolt, like a slap to the back of the head. God said told me, “Don’t you dare! Would you like someone spreading half truths or lies about you?” Sure, what I saw was true, but there is obviously a full story behind it. Maybe, they just had a cleaning crew come out or they did have to abandon their home for a serious reason. But I was in no position to talk about their affairs. Imagine if I did, it would be like the old game “phone tree”. One would say what I said to their friend, then they would tell their friend, but jazz it up a bit for drama’s sake until it became nothing like it was first cited. It was none of my business. Until I am told by that person or their spokesperson of what happened, I have to remain silent and pray for their situation.
Gossip is a hard habit to break, but we are told in God’s word how much our words matter. Even in our venting about friends and family to other friends and family have to be done in a way that it is not a full assault or exaggerated truths. If we are confided to a secret, keep that secret. When we are given private information, keep it private. “Treat others as you wish to be treated” is perfect when dealing with this. When you hear gossip about someone, don’t take part in it. If you are told something in secret, keep it secret. This world seems so out of control and it is hard not to get swept up into this whirl wind of people’s private lives especially on social media. But change is possible!
“Dear Heavenly Father. Protect me Lord in my relationships to not reveal secrets. Help me control my ability to share others’ information. Help me protect privacy. Forgive me when I have taken part in gossip or slander. If I notice a situation, remind me to ask first if I can help. If they do not want my help, let me be okay with that. Let me content in my life that I don’t need to know every facet of the lives of others. In Jesus’ Name. AMEN!”