Everyone makes mistakes. I know I do. I have made plenty of mistakes. We all fail at things and I think it's safe to say that one of the things that we've all fallen into the trap of is gossip. Prayerfully, as Christians, once we've fallen into that trap of gossip, God convicts us and we realize our mistake. Unfortunately, it's been my observation that if you don't ask God's forgiveness and ask His help in defeating this sin then it becomes habitual and you become desensitized. It becomes one of those cases where someone can hear a rare sermon on this hurtful sin, nod their head and say "Preach it brother!", and then turn to their neighbor and start talking about the folks they know that are gossipers and slanderers. They don't realize that at that very moment they are the ones gossiping. As I am writing this I am praying that God reveals the sin of gossip in my life and convicts me if I have become desensitized.
Why do people gossip? A lot of times, people gossip because they don't understand something. They don't understand someone's motives. They don't understand what is going on in the background. They see what they want to see but don't care to look further. They hear what they want to hear but don't bother to listen intently. They think they know what is going on, but really don't know.
Then they gossip.
And the gossip spreads.
And it gets bigger.
And it gets distorted.
And before you know it the thing that happened (or maybe didn't happen) turns into something that it never was. In fact, it turns into a lie.
So, what does the Bible say about gossip?
Ephesians 4:29 (ESV) 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.
Titus 3:2 (ESV) To speak evil of no one, to avoid quarreling, to be gentle, and to show perfect courtesy toward all people.
Psalm 34:13 (ESV) Keep your tongue from evil and your lips from speaking deceit.
Ephesians 4:29 (ESV)
Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits these occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.
I think it's safe to say that God doesn't want us to gossip. He wants us to say things that will build one another up. Yes there are verses in the Bible that talk about confronting a fellow Christian if they are doing wrong. However, none of those verses say we are to go around and tell everyone else about the wrongdoing. You are to go to the brother and discuss it with him not go and discuss it with others.
What should you do if we hear gossip? Well, if you don't fan the flame then the flame will eventually go out. So, don't continue the rumor. If it is something that you feel you really have to know is true or not, go to the person that the rumor is about and ask. Don't believe something that you hear from someone else. Find out yourself from the actual person.
What should you do if you are the victim of gossip? You could always go and talk to the person that is spreading the rumors but they probably heard it from someone else and you would just have to keep backtracking. Just remember. God knows what is going on. He is the one who counts. Remember these verses:
1 Samuel 16:7b (NIV) People look at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.
Jeremiah 1:5a (NIV) Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart.
Zephaniah 3:17 (ESV) The LORD your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing.
1 Samuel 16:7 (NIV)
But the LORD said to Samuel, "Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The LORD does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart."
I'm going to be brutally honest here. Tonight I had meltdown. That's what led me to finish this post that I had started a few weeks ago. Tonight I had a frustrating conversation with my wife. A conversation about some things that my family and our ministry is going through. I'm afraid that I didn't do a good job of explaining my frustrations. However, the whole thing stems from gossip about us.
We aren't perfect by any means. We make mistakes like everyone else. Gossip and rumors get back to a person, don't ever think that they don't, and some of the things that have gotten back to us are terribly distorted and some are just out and out lies. It exasperates me to even imagine what some people are talking about and how these rumors ever got started. The problem is, no one ever came and talked to us. No one ever came to see if these rumors were true. They didn't bother to look further and see if there was something more to the story. They saw what they wanted and they heard what they wanted. Now, the damage is done.
So, what am I going to do about it? Well, I really don't know who began the rumors so trying to track the person down would be futile. I can, however, hold my head high, even during these difficult circumstances, and remember the verses above. I can remember that God loves me more than I can ever imagine. He is in control. I need to remember the following verse. That is all that really counts. After all, what God thinks of me is what is really important. If I am doing what God wants me to do then I shouldn't worry about anything else.
Gossip hurts but God heals. God is beginning to heal me. It is taking longer than intended I'm sure because I can be a stubborn self-centered person sometimes. For now, though, I am going to allow God to heal and I am just going to keep on doing what God wants me to do. Loving Him, loving my family, and loving others. I'm going to keep on ministering to the people God gives me to minister to. I'm not going to stop. I can't stop until God commands me to. God will deliver us. I know He will. Just keep on praying for us and we deeply thank you for all of your prayers.
If you have been a victim of gossip and have a comment or need prayer. Please leave a comment below or private message me. Remember, all of my social media buttons are at the top of this blog.
Psalm 18:2 (NIV)
The LORD is my rock, my fortress and deliver; My God is my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.