I try my best not to gossip. When I’m in a circle of friends, I try to re-direct the conversation, so that gossip isn’t the outcome. But I fall up short sometimes. I’m talking to someone, sharing my hurts, when, before I know it, I’m gossiping. I’m so focused on myself that I don’t even realize the words that our coming out of my mouth. I’m venting. I’m looking for encouraging. But, in the process, my words are less than edifying. I’m someone, without even meaning to do so.
It’s a quick downhill battle, one that we’re so talented at as women. I really think women are bigger gossipers because we share our hearts. We talk a lot, analyze out loud, and, in the process, make judgments of those around us.
I would be so completely hurt if I overheard someone gossiping about me. Yet, I find myself falling into the same exact trap. I gossip about others, often as a well-intentioned friend.
But where to draw the line? Perhaps, if I asked myself these questions, I would hesitate before gossiping:
Who am I talking to?
Why do they need to know this information?
Can they empathize with me, without knowing the full story (in order to protect other people?
What am I getting out of this exchange?
If the person I’m talking about was standing here, would I still say this?
What’s at the heart of the matter?
What does Jesus think about this?
Asking these questions, and saying a quick prayer, might make all of the difference in the choices I make. What about you? Is there anything else you would add to this list?
I’ll leave you with some verses on the power of the tongue. They’re definitely something I needed to read today:
“And my tongue will proclaim Your righteousness,
Your praise all day long” (Psalm 35:28, HCSB).
“The mouth of the righteous utters wisdom;
his tongue speaks what is just” (Psalm 37:30, HCSB).
“A wicked person listens to malicious talk;
a liar pays attention to a destructive tongue” (Proverbs 17:4, HCSB)
“The one who guards his mouth and tongue
keeps himself out of trouble” (Proverbs 21:23, HCSB).
“If anyone thinks he is religious without controlling his tongue, then his religion is useless and he deceives himself” (James 1:26, HCSB).
“So too, though the tongue is a small part of the body, it boasts great things. Consider how large a forest a small fire ignites. And the tongue is a fire. The tongue, a world of unrighteousness, is placed among the parts of our bodies. It pollutes the whole body, sets the course of life on fire, and is set on fire by hell” (James 3:5-6, HCSB).