My favorite definition of gossip says that gossip is saying negative things about a person which the hearer does not need to hear. Over the years I’ve collected the excuses which we make for our gossip. I shared five of them in a previous post:
10. “I know he won’t listen to me if I talk to him face to face.”
9. “Freedom of speech applies to the church, doesn’t it?”
8. “I’m not gossiping, I’m simply quoting the old proverb: ‘If you can’t say anything good about someone, don’t say anything at all.’”
7. “It’s not gossip if it’s true.”
6. “It’s not gossip; I’m telling you this in confidence.”
Here are five more:
5. “I’m not gossiping, I’m making a prayer request.” Timing is everything with this. Somebody has just mentioned a really juicy sin. At that moment you sigh, drop your head, shake your head, drop your voice, shake your voice and say, “Ahhhh yyyyyes, we need to ppppppray for brother Brian.”
4. “I’m not gossiping, I just need someone to talk this over with” or “I need to ventilate” or “I need to get this off my chest.” If it’s something negative, talk it over with God or a counselor or a friend who is far, far away and won’t know who you’re talking about. It’s okay to get “conflict counseling” from a spiritual leader but if you’re “just ventilating” then you’re not getting conflict counseling, you’re gossiping.
3. “She’s my best friend, we talk about everything.” Everything? Really? If you talk about everything, you probably do a lot of gossiping and your friendship is a dysfunctional friendship. You need friends who love you enough to not let you gossip with them.
2. “He’s intimidating” or “I’m intimidated by him.” That is, “I’m talking about brother so and so behind his back because I’m afraid of him because he’s a bully.” But what we’re really saying is that we feel intimidated by this individual.
The question is, do we feel intimidated by him because of something in him or because of something in us? If you feel intimidated in his presence because he is angry, arrogant, violent, cold, aloof, unapproachable or mean then you need to talk to him about whatever else you needed to talk to him about and you also need to talk to him about being angry, arrogant, violent, cold, aloof, unapproachable or mean.
1. “I’m afraid” or “I’m a chicken.” If you are a Christian, you are a child of God, not a chicken. You are more than a conqueror (Romans 8:37) not less than a loser. God has given you perfect love, which casts out fear (I John 4:18). “God has not given us a spirit of fear, but a spirit of power, of love and of self discipline” (II Timothy 1:7).
Surrender your will and your body to Christ. Get filled up with the Holy Spirit and go and do what God wants you to do. Talk to your brother or sister face-to-face. You’ll be glad you did.