Resolved: 13. Keeping My Mouth Shut

Gossip

This post is part of the Resolved series: a collection of 21 personal resolutions that I’m writing/preaching to myself.

If you’d like a little more information, please visit this introduction to the Resolved series.

Resolution #13

Resolved, to refrain from engaging in gossip and/or slander.

What and Why?

Here’s where I explain what I mean and why it matters.

Everybody loves to be in the know, including yours truly. We want to know the latest news about the people in our lives and we love to chat by the water cooler at the office. Programs like Facebook and Twitter have amplified this natural tendency to beyond-epic proportions.

Gossip now travels at the speed of light.

What we don’t realize, however, is that gossip destroys people. The conversation is always at someone’s expense and very rarely based on factual information. We take a few loose bits of information, scandalize them, and then spread the word around the office, classroom, church, and so on.

Yes, I said church.

In our Christian circles, we’re a lot more sneaky about this. We usually preface our gossip by saying something like, “We need to pray for…” or “I’m concerned about…” Then, we let the good stuff fly under the guise of “speaking the truth in love.” In doing so, we shamefully pervert the genuine Biblical command to instruct and encourage each other.

Let’s be a people who actually speak the truth in love.

Not in secret circles out of a need to push people down and make much of ourselves, but out of an honest desire to see sin exposed, people restored, and lives changed. Yes, sometimes you’ll have to seek outside advice or get some sort of authority involved (manager, leader, parent, close friend.) Let that conversation be about genuine concern, not about vain gossip.

If you love your brother, you’ll have a loving and honest conversation with him about the areas of his life where he seems to be falling short or struggling. If you hate your brother, you’ll use those failings as fodder for your next gossip session. Love your brother (and sister.)

 How and When?

Here’s where I look at ways to practically apply this resolution to my life.

  1. Immediately shut down conversations that are trending towards gossip.
  2. Refrain from speaking negatively about people, outside a specific review type of scenario. Even in those cases, always speak in hopes of restoration as opposed to defamation.

That’s it for resolution #13. If you’d like to keep up with this series, feel free to click one of the links below and subscribe to my RSS feed.

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