Talia Biel is a member at Crossroads Church. She is a sincere Jesus follower with a gift for connecting her faith to real life, and for sharing that through her writing. Check out her blog “Holding On To Faith.
I had a friend recently ask me to write on the issue of “gossiping” and as a “Christian” on how to deal with it. I am no pro but I think Christian or not, gossiping can be one of the most harmful and destructive issues that destroy relationships. It is an issue that arises in many social gatherings, churches, and in the workplace. Below is a list of ten things I have put together on how to deal with this issue and some steps to take to bring others up, not down.
1. First let’s look at the definition of gossip, gossip means casual or unconstrained conversation or reports about other people, typically involving details that are not confirmed as being true.
2. Prayer Requests. Gossip destroys fellowship, and that’s what Satan loves best. A church that talks about each other in a negative way destroying any possible outcome of trust and moving forward. I often wonder if people are afraid to say prayer requests out loud for the fear of it becoming gossip. Sometimes, even something as simple as a prayer request can be turned into gossip. We should be careful on how we share prayer requests and talk about them.
3. Turning to the Bible. Sounds cliché I know, but the Bible has some pretty awesome verses for help when dealing with this particular issue. Some of my favourite are,
‘Whoever goes about slandering reveals secrets, but he who is trustworthy in spirit keeps a thing covered – Proverbs 11:13
“A dishonest man spreads strife, and a whisperer separates close friends – Proverbs 16:28 .
4. Taking a break from social media. Sometimes, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram can be great things for social networking, but it can also be used in a way that is harmful and hindering to others. We should be mindful about our posts, and messages that can come across a different way. If you need to discuss something, try sending them a private message, or better yet, try to meet with them in person.
5. Don’t engage yourself in the gossip. I know it’s tough to walk away or change the subject when a friend of yours is spilling things to you about someone else. It can even seem harmless at first, but it’s okay to tell that person that gossiping makes you uncomfortable, and that you do not want to participate in it. You can always say, “If someone were to gossip about you, I would not want to participate in that either”. If that doesn’t work, try changing the subject, or walking away.
6. Reach out for help. If you are really struggling with this particular issue and seem to be stuck in gossip . Speak up and reach out for help. Ask your friends for help, or family members or your pastor on ways that can help you conquer this. Allowing others know you need help is a good way that others who are also struggling can reach out too. Reaching out also allows others to know you are serious and want to be held accountable for your actions.
7. Forgive yourself. If you mess up, forgive yourself, move on and then try again! We are not perfect. Don’t get stuck in what went wrong, or you should have said this or that. Admit it, own it, and keep trying! Each day is a new day to learn and grow!
8. WWJS? What would Jesus say? A trick that works for me is I think of if Jesus were here right now beside me while I talk to my friends, my husband, my co-workers, would he approve of the way I am talking about others? Is the way I am talking uplifting and encouraging or is it completely the opposite?
9. Be positive. Say something positive about that person that is being gossiped about if you do find yourself involved in gossiping. You can always turn what someone says as negative into something positive. It may feel awkward at first, but sharing the positive side of someone can really counteract the conversation that is happening around you.
10. Pray, pray, pray. This is also very important! Pray that God will give you wisdom and guidance. Pray for your workplace, pray for your church, and pray that God will help you tame the tongue.