“But if you bite and devour one another, watch out that you are not consumed by one another. But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh.” Galatians 5:15-16
When I hear of people going through painful situations, I want to be helpful and supportive. I want to listen and give some sort of advice or encouragement, if wanted. Sometimes when people are venting, more information gets shared than necessary, such as gossip or slander. It is a dangerous road to travel.
On my side of the family, I encountered such the episode. I received a call from one family member and she was upset and crying. She went on for an hour about all the problems her spouse was giving her. She berated him and I could feel she was wanting me to join her in her beliefs. It was difficult to listen when I have a close relationship with that person she was having problems with.
The very next day, I received a phone call from the spouse calling to complain about their problems with the one who called me yesterday. He went on to describe in detail what was happening. I felt so uncomfortable, I stopped him in mid-sentence and said,
“This is inappropriate for me to listen anymore. I can no longer take part in listening to issues with your marriage. Please find help. I will continue to pray for you and her.”
There are some thing to get involved with, but some things that are absolutely off-limits. Gossip and slander are so hurtful. I know it is so easy when venting for me to paint a negative picture of people hurting me. But when I make up with them, the people I confided with in these issues will wonder why I am still continuing that relationship(s). They get a negative picture of them and that is all they see even when you get past the current hiccup.
I felt God tell me, pray but stay out of it. I even heard it from a third-party person too. They said, “I know you are trying to help, but STAY out of this!” It will be hard, but it needs to be their burden to bare.
Lesson Learned: Pray for other always, but don’t get too involved in things that are none of your business.
“Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for knowing all things we go through. Help me to be an encourager and listener to those in need. But let me have boundaries that protect me and others. Give me discernment to know when to be involved or just be an ear to hear. In Jesus’ Name, AMEN!”