So I have to admit that today…well most days…I gossip in some shape or fashion at work. Sometimes about customers, sometimes about co-workers, and well you get the picture. I am either the one telling the “juicy” details to someone else or hearing about something that “so-and-so” did… Not that I ever have time really to waste at work doing this…just that is has become a habit I have let myself get used to doing that I need to break. Let me give you an example…Just in the span of a few minutes, up in the front part of my office, I was not only told something in front of the person who my co-worker was talking about but witnessed some “whispering” going on between two of my other co-workers who were talking about the other co-worker sitting in front of them though at the time that co-worker was chatting with another co-worker (hope she didn’t hear them talking about her)… whew and that was just in the span of about 20 minutes or so.
And besides they learn to be idle, wandering about from house to house, and not only idle but also gossips and busybodies, saying things which they ought not. 1 Timothy 5:13
As the verse states and I believe that Paul got it right… that we learn to be idle, gossips, and busybodies these days…even me. I believe that even the 10 Commandments says “you shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.” I know the actual definition of false witness is to lie but then does it mean that if you say something about someone that is true to someone else that it is okay? Best answer to that is another question, “Would Jesus gossip (say what you are saying) to someone else (even though what you are saying is true) about the person?” Jesus himself stated this in Matthew 15:11:
Not what goes into the mouth defiles a man; but what comes out of the mouth, this defiles a man.
You see the two greatest commandments that Jesus talks with us about is to “love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ This is the first commandment. And the second, like it, is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” Mark 12:30-31. So when I gossip basically behind someone’s back about them am I really loving that person? No, I am not loving that person at all. When I allow someone else to lean over and tell me the “juicy” details about someone else am I loving that person at that moment? No, I am not loving that person at all. So now that I have determined that I have a problem and that I want to fix it…what now?
These six things the Lord hates,
Yes, seven are an abomination to Him:
A proud look,
A lying tongue,
Hands that shed innocent blood,
A heart that devises wicked plans,
Feet that are swift in running to evil,
A false witness who speaks lies,
And one who sows discord among brethren. ~ Proverbs 6:16-19
A perverse person stirs up conflict, and a gossip separates close friends. Proverbs 16:28
I feel I need an action plan in case I find myself in the situations I described above again…and let’s face it I know I will be as soon as tomorrow. SO as friend’s young child stated so clearly…”stop talking about that person because it is not nice to talk about someone when they aren’t here.” The father then asked, “Even if it is good things?” … to which the child replied, “Nope not even then!” If the child could politely tell their parents to stop why can’t I tell co-workers that I just do not want to participate in gossip? Then it comes down to when I feel the urge to spill the “juicy” details to someone else…or even tell another story about someone else even if I am talking about nice things. Do I pinch myself? Do I pray? Do I put a quarter in a jar? Maybe I should memorize a verse that talks about gossiping such as Proverbs 16:28 and every time I feel the urge to recite it to myself quietly… I think that will do it and if I keep wanting to continue at that point I can send up a prayer.
Lord, I struggle with this bad habit every day. I know that this displeases you and is not how you would have me act. Please guide me in trying to get rid of this bad habit. Help me to stick to my plan of action. Help me to memorize the verse in Proverbs and to remember to recite it to myself anytime I feel the urge to gossip. I want to be an example of you to the world around me and I cannot be that when I continue this habit. Please continue to mold me into the person you know I am capable of being to show the people around me who I am in You. ~ Amen.