I have some juicy gossip for you…

9 Sep

So & so did such & such & I felt/think _____ about it.

No one is exempt from this sin.  Male, female, young, old, this deadly little sin is so horrific & sneaky that most people don’t even realize they are gossiping or being gossiped to when it happens.

I’m going to try to tackle a few angles of this topic but I want to start by making a very strong point about the severe danger involved in gossip situations.

Can  you name the time when we are most likely to give into temptation to gossip about someone? Yes, there is a time when all people are MORE inclined to stumble into the sin than other times in their life.  It happens when someone hurts us.

Think about it.  When our spouse hurts us.  When our parents hurt us.  When our boss hurts us.  When our friend hurts us.  When our in-laws hurt us.

It is really hard for us to resist the urge to share in grave detail the situation when we feel hurt, disappointed, or wrongly judged or treated. Something happens in us that demands for our side to be heard.  We really desire some justification to the situation.  We want someone to agree with us that how we feel is validated and only natural.  We want someone to tell us “we have rights” and we don’t have to put up with it. Or at the very least, feel sorry for us for how bad we have it or the sad situation we have to put up with.

We may not even mean to “gossip” when we do.  When we are gossiping though, we tell intimate details.  Think about this.  When your spouse wrongs you and you share it with a friend,  do you leave out even a single detail?  Usually not.  That friend probably knows every single sentence that was spoken and all of your emotions and feelings of being completely devastated by the situation.

When reconciliation happens with your spouse.  How often do you share every single detail?  What usually happens is we say “Oh, he said this and I said this and we worked it all out. We’re good.”

Now let’s think about what happened for the friend who heard the gossip.

1.) They rarely hear all the incredible details of every day life, but they have now heard intimate and private mistakes and failures about someone and how intensely it hurt someone else that they care about.

2.) They get a quick spun version of the reconciliation, which was probably full of some admission of fault on your part and how much you might have hurt your spouse too (because fighting is NEVER one-sided) and the situation can appear to be that you just “gave in and put up with that jerk.”

3.) Their perception of your spouse is based mostly on failures.

This happens as much as, if not MORE often with friendships.  When we talk about people we don’t like to other people, we rarely give a glimpse of any good qualities they may possess.  We make them look despicable, evil, malicious, violent, untrustworthy, dishonest, unfaithful, and cruel.

We are allowing our feelings about their mistakes to define them.  God help us all if anyone only has a vision of who we are based solely on how someone else feels about our mistakes.  None of us would be loved by anyone.  Because ALL OF US, regardless of who we are, are more than the mistakes we make.

Ponder this for a minute.  Think about someone you don’t get along with very well.  Someone that you might mix with like oil and water.  Now imagine how they might make you sound to someone.  You might make them sound just as ugly when you talk about them.

So it leads me to ask, who is painting the true picture? The person you hear from first?  The person you are friends with? (Because you know your friend, there is NO WAY they could possibly be leading you on by their raw emotions, all they speak is facts in the midst of their hurt and they never ever hurt other people.)

There is no way any person is truly describing the situation in the most honest form when they are:

1.)  Placing all the blame on someone else.

2.) Trying to negatively alter your perception of someone.

3.) Exposing someones mistakes as the definition of who they *are* as a human

4.) Seem to be gaining satisfaction in getting dirt off their chest or fuel to empower themselves.

5.) Sharing rumors or facts about someone other than themselves that are not edifying to the person they are talking about.

I would love to say that this only happens among unbelievers.  But that would be a bold face LIE! Believers can be trapped in this battle as quickly as if not more quickly than unbelievers.  Somehow, Satan has convinced us to be crafty in naming it something else.  And we have bought into the notion that as long as we do that, it is no longer gossip or sin.

We’ve disguised gossip as:

~ A prayer request.

~ Venting.

~ Seeking advice from a friend.

~ Just giving someone a heads up of the situation.

I think seeking advice or counsel from someone when you just feel overwhelmed or defeated by a certain person or situation is definitely a wise thing to do.  But this takes a lot of prayer and discretion.  Some things to keep in mind.

1.) One person is enough. (Unless they tell you they feel like they cannot help you in this situation and would like to bring in someone who has more expertise {like dealing with an abusive spouse or something like that}) If you need to tell more than one person, you need to check to make sure your motives REALLY ARE to seek help and counsel, or something from the earlier mentioned list.

2.) Choose someone who DOES NOT KNOW the person you are having an issue with. (You don’t want to alter someone elses perception of someone or give them a reason to find fault or offense.) Don’t go to someone in your church about someone else in your church.  Don’t go to a family member about another family member.  This is especially true of your spouse.  If you share your deepest hurts with your mom, chances are she is going to have a harder time not judging and also forgiving even long after you’re over the problem.

3.) Choose someone who will help you see YOUR sin in the situation.  Many fights between spouses escalate or in some way involve the husband feeling disrespected or the wife feeling unloved.  When telling the story, you want someone who will not be bias, and will help you see where you can correct your behavior as well as help you let go of your own hurt and show grace.  All too often we want to choose someone who will throw their hands in the air and say “You shouldn’t put up with that.  I can’t believe he/she treated you that way.  You deserve better.  I can’t believe what a jerk they are.”  This is NOT Godly council.

Practical Application:

~ Confess any instances where I have been or currently am caught up in gossip.

~ Pray over and make a list of anyone I may have wrongly judged based solely on the testimony of someone who didn’t like them or was hurt by them.

~ When tempted to talk about someone, take time to make sure I have the right reasons in mind and I really consider who would be a wise choice for the situation at hand.

~ When listening to my friends, be aware of the “why” behind what they are sharing, and stop the conversation if it is not to seek true Godly help, including seeing their own mistakes and sins.

~ Be the kind of friend who GIVES Godly council instead of fuels the hurt fire.

 

I’d love some feedback on this topic.  I know we all have a story about gossip. Do you have some tips or truths I might have left out?

 

 

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2 Responses to “I have some juicy gossip for you…”

  1. In-House Counsel September 12, 2012 at 12:26 am #

    I really appreciate your sharing these thoughts. I lead a prayer group for moms at my boys school. I always start the year with a pretty strong exhortation not to gossip under the guise of requesting prayer. I will use a lot of what you wrote as I prepare my remarks.

    • kaylagulick September 12, 2012 at 6:56 am #

      A prayer group for moms at the school??!! AWESOME!!!! I love it! I’ll pray God prepares their hearts to hear the good word, because gossip is such a sneaky little sin!

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