9When you and someone else
can't get along,
don't gossip about it.
10Others will find out,
and your reputation
will then be ruined.
Gossip is in our face continually when we turn on the television, look through social media or read a magazine. Entertainment conglomerates make their living by reporting on gossip about our favourite celebs, high-profile politicians and royalty. The information they provide is salacious, exciting, and for the parties involved, usually highlights an emotional and often sad phase in their lives, such as divorce, infidelity or substance abuse.
But it’s like passing a car accident on the highway. Everyone slows down to get a better look. The more gossip we hear, the more our interest is piqued. It’s plain to see on the broader stage, but when we look at our own lives – our friends, family and neighbours – gossip is often a common occurrence, even if it’s dressed up as “concern.”
We must remember that when we’re worried about someone close to us, we should take that concern directly to them with all the compassion and love that comes with it. Talking about someone’s issue with anyone other than the actual person is a hurtful betrayal that ruins friendships and causes family strife. It immediately cuts down all trust in the relationship, leaving the victim feeling exposed and wounded.
If you’re concerned about someone, don’t air their dirty laundry with friends over coffee. Instead, go to the person you’re worried about. Knock on their door, bring a couple of lattes and have a loving discussion about your concerns. This approach is much more likely to strengthen the relationship, building greater trust and mutual respect. If it backfires, take hold of the fact that you’ve followed God’s direction and stayed true to his Word.
Father, thank you for knowing our hearts and knowing where our genuine concerns lie. Please guard our mouths from gossip and keep our tongues from turning into swords that cut down those around us. Help us use our words for building up instead of tearing down. Amen.