“A gossip betrays a confidence, but a trustworthy man keeps a secret.” (Proverbs 11:13)
Do you ever find yourself speaking unkind words about someone? It's so easy (and sometimes contagious!) to get caught up in idle chatter and criticize or point out others flaws. Gossip is human nature and avoiding it can be so hard when you are in a group or confronted head on with it. But is it really healthy to gossip about other people in order to socially engage ourselves with our peers? Why is it so entertaining for people to sit around examining the hardships, difficulties, or differences of others? Sadly, some people thrive on this and just look for opportunities to destroy others. I find myself in these situations often, and my negative thoughts and hurtful words leave me feeling ashamed and remorseful. In 2 Timothy, we are reminded to avoid foolish discussions that lead to more and more ungodliness, and are useless and harmful. The uncontrolled tongue can do terrible damage, and we can't stop the results once it has spoken or reverse the damage it can do.
"Therefore rid yourselves of all malice and all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and slander of every kind. Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation." (1 Peter 2:1-3)
Gossip can enter a conversation with no fair warning, so when I catch myself or others speaking unkind words about someone, I know I need to turn the conversation around and make a positive remark about that person instead. :) If I am exposed or engaged in an uncomfortable situation that involves rumors and slander, I'm pretty sure I can choose to remove myself! The choice is mine, and it's not always easy to guard our tongues and refrain from the sinful act of gossip, but if we surrender our natural desires to the Lord, He will help us to remain righteous. I constantly need to examine myself for symptoms of critical and hurtful talk, and pray to God for guidance that He will purify my heart and give me self-control so that I speak words that are pleasing to Him.
"Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen." (Ephesians 4:29)
Linking up with Heart and Soul Pursuits in a Collection of Proverbs!