“Gossips alienate close friends.” Pr 16:28 CEB
Tabloids, talk shows and tattletales thrive on a diet of gossip. Indeed, we’re each likely to spread our share of it and receive our share of it. And whether it’s based on truth, fiction, or bits of both, doesn’t make it any less hurtful. Though society considers it as relatively innocent, God puts gossip in the same company as “backstabbing…conceit, and disorderly conduct” (2Co 12:20 CEB). So, when you’re the target of gossip, what can you do? (1) When possible, ignore it. People who gossip get satisfaction out of upsetting you. So the more you get upset, the more they gossip. Don’t react in anger; that just fuels the fire. “Without wood a fire goes out; without gossips, conflict calms down” (Pr 26:20 CEB). (2) When appropriate, correct it. Gossip can wreak havoc and break hearts. So if you can set the record straight you may be able to contain the damage. But forget about attempting to “tell everybody you know the real story”; you’ll only spread the flames, widen the exposure, and feed unhealthy appetites. Solomon said, “The words of a gossip are like tasty bits of food; people like to gobble them up” (v. 22 NCV). Step back and ask yourself who’s really important in your life, then try to correct the record with them. In time, they’ll vindicate you with others. In many cases their words will come across as being more objective than yours. If the gossip is based on truth or partial truth, don’t deny or excuse yourself. True friends always forgive and defend their friends. And gossips generally find juicier rumors, move on, and leave you alone.
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