Regardless of what circles you run in, you have no doubt been faced with gossip that made you feel uncomfortable. As a woman of substance and dignity, you naturally feel a twinge in your spirit when you know something is hurtful to others, and gossip is something that is never a victim-less activity. It’s natural to feel offended on behalf of the victims of gossip, but it’s also important to increase your own sensitivity to its pervasiveness.
Gossip is as bad as porn. It harms all parties involved, and even some that aren’t involved. Allowing gossip can lead to truly harmful things like hatefulness and personal attacks (both of which are an absolute epidemic on the web). But avoiding gossip is more difficult than ever before. At the supermarket, on TV and certainly online, our society is bombarded with juicy tidbits about celebrities, sports stars and politicians. The internet (especially facebook) has made gossip within our personal realms more accessible as well. But as Monica Lewinsky, (who has been the infamous victim of gossip and even public shaming for over a decade) says in the video below, “there is a very personal price to public humiliation” the root of which is found in gossip.
Wise insights on gossip:
Humble yourselves [feeling very insignificant] in the presence of the Lord, and He will exalt you [He will lift you up and make your lives significant]. [My] brethren, do not speak evil about or accuse one another. He that maligns a brother or judges his brother is maligning and criticizing the Law and judging the Law. But if you judge the Law, you are not a practicer of the Law but a censor and judge [of it]. One only is the Lawgiver and Judge Who is able to save and to destroy [the One Who has the absolute power of life and death]. [But you] who are you that [you presume to] pass judgment on your neighbor? Come now, you who say, today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a city and spend a year there and carry on our business and make money. Yet you do not know [the least thing] about what may happen tomorrow. What is the nature of your life? You are [really] but a wisp of vapor (a puff of smoke, a mist) that is visible for a little while and then disappears [into thin air]. (James 4:10-14 AMP)
The Lord listens to your prayers, and He listens to your words. Do not let your words hinder what work your prayer does. Keep your words humble as you humble yourself before your Maker. The thing is that if you see other Christians acting in ways you see as disobedient, you may ask them about it, but you may not judge them for it. You don’t see the whole picture, and you do not know the work of the Holy Spirit in their lives.
Speaking ill of others is clearly contrasted with humility in this passage, because if you are prepared to criticize, demean or otherwise negatively discuss another person, you are setting yourself up as someone who is above that person. Not only does this hurt the person you are discussing, but it hurts you by revealing a haughty attitude in your heart.
Interesting video about how hurtful gossip can be.
We, as women, look to each other to be an example of how to carry ourselves. Do you want your example to lead others to a lack of compassion? We women are the targeted consumers of gossip. “We have been sowing the seeds of shame and public humiliation in our culture.” We are the ones responsible for the reversal of this trend.
Practical Ways to Avoid Gossip
1. Pretend the person in question was standing there. How would you discuss them then?
2. Practice finding nice things to talk about in every situation.
3. Learn from Eleanor Roosevelt who said: “Small minds discuss people. Average minds discuss events. Great minds discuss ideas.”