Mind Your Own Business

Mind Your Own Business

I remember hearing it said that gossip is sharing any piece of information about another person that isn’t necessary.  Yet, how many times do we find ourselves doing just that?

On the Wednesday night before the FMA (Family Marriage Amendment) was coming up for a vote in the Senate, our pastor mentioned that there was some talk that homosexuals were planning to target some churches around the nation on that coming Sunday.  He briefly shared that they may picket with signs and/or try to disrupt church services.  He then mentioned that coming to churches was another one of their methods to get their own point of view heard.  Anyway, someone in the church wasn’t paying real close attention to what Pastor had said.  The next day I received a phone call from a friend who was very disturbed over something she had heard that our pastor supposedly said.  She proceeded to tell me that this individual told her that our pastor was opening up our church to homosexual advocates.  Because this person didn’t pay close attention to what was actually being said, they ended up slandering our pastor, speaking lies about him, tainting his character.

An area where I see falsehoods, gossip, and slander quite frequently are in the myriad of urban legends circulating on the Internet.  Time is a very precious commodity, and I don’t want to waste mine on reading that kind of trash.  Yet, I continually find that people keep sending them to me every week.  We would be wise to use some discretion when we receive these kinds of messages in our email box.  Rather than immediately sending them on to every person in your address book, check them out first to see if they are even true.  A great resource for checking to see if something is an urban legend is http://www.snopes.com/.  When I take the time to research these kinds of messages, I have only found about two of them that were actually accurate messages.

Recently, as I headed into the women’s restroom at church, and closed the door, I saw a note posted on the door.  It said that someone who speaks to you about someone will also speak about you to someone.

Proverbs shares some wonderful insights regarding being a talebearer.  A gossip is one who will spread rumors.  Yet, the flip side is that she who is trustworthy will stop rumors.  (11:13 NIV)  She who guards her lips guards her own life.  (13:3)  Many times gossip isn’t true, so when we share it, we are telling lies, and God hates a lying tongue.  (6:17)

So, how do we help to guard ourselves against this all-too-common trap?  In II Tim. 4:2, we are told to be ready in season and out of season.  If we want to do our best to be godly women, not given to the destructive habit of gossiping, we need to be prepared with a response so that when (not if) someone wants to gossip to us, we have a response ready to speak forth to them.  For instance, when Sister Busybody approaches you and says, “Did you hear about so-and-so?”, you can immediately respond with, “No, and if it’s something bad about them, I’d rather not hear it, thank you.”  Or another response could be, “Would this person care if they knew you were about to share this issue with me?”  Another way of putting it would be to say, “If you what you have to say about them is edifying, I would love to hear it!”  Sometimes a gentle admonishment is a good approach.  Share with this person a past experience, where someone has spoken something less-than-desirable about another person — a person whom you barely knew.  The end result was that every time you saw this other person, that conversation where gossip was shared is always in the forefront of your mind.  You might even share that having those kinds of thoughts always popping up isn’t pleasant, so you do your best to avoid having that happen again.

The Bible tells us that we are to correct, rebuke, and encourage.  (II Tim. 4:2)  Part of correcting or rebuking may be to stop people who have wagging tongues when they approach us.  Yes, it’s possible that we may offend them.  Yes, it’s likely that they may turn and stab us in the back because we dared to stop them in their sin.  But Sister, I ask you:  Whose applause and approval do you desire?  Do you desire the approval and acceptance of a gossip, who is likely to gossip about you?  Or, do you desire the approval of the Lord who was willing to die for you?
© 2004, Stacy R Miller

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