"But the tongue can no man tame; it is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison." James 3:8
Have you ever felt stabbed in the back by someone who repeated secret information you had shared with him? How did you feel when you realized that person had betrayed his commitment to keep that information confidential?
Has there ever been a time when you were guilty of repeating something that someone shared with you, trusting that you would keep it in confidence?
Or have you ever been guilty of listening to someone who was gossiping about someone else, thereby showing yourself to be an unfaithful friend to the person who was being discussed?
Perhaps there is nothing more distressful than the behavior of a talebearer - one who meddles in other people's affairs and repeats information that is none of his business to tell. this kind of person is continually putting his nose where it doesn't belong and often makes a situation worse because people begin to talk, talk, and talk.
Usually a talebearer doesn't have all the facts; thus, he needlessly stifs up a lot of trouble as people begin to form opinions and take sides regarding situations they know very little about.
"A talebearer revealeth secrets: but he that is of a faithful spirit concealeth the matter." Proverbs 11:13
- When people think of you, do they think of you as a talebearer who repeats everything you hear, or do they find you to be confidential, private, and trustworthy?
- Do you have the reputation of being able to conceal a matter, or do people think you are two-faced and have loose lips?
- Are you friends certain that if someone starts to say something negative about them, you will walk away, refusing to listen to that rumor? Or do they worry that you might listen to gossip that is being spread about them?
Every listener has the ability to walk away from a conversation. No one has the right to force dirt into another person's ears.
You have a choice! You can either pull up a chair, draw closer to the gossiper, open your ears and let him start whispering what he has heard about what he thinks he knows - or you can choose to walk away and refuse to listen to him.
let me ask you this: haven't there been many times in the past when you should have said, "Excuse me, but should we be talking like this?"
When we choose to listen to gossip we are just as guilty of sin than if we were the gossiper.
When you turn and walk away from a gossiper, you literally paralyze his abilty to discuss things that are not his business to discuss. You see, in order for the words of a gossip to be successful, there must be two parties involved - the gossiper and the listener. Without a listener, the gossipers voice is silenced. If there is no one to listen, there is nothing to tell!
This is exactly why Proverbs 26:20 says, "Where no wood is, the fire goeth out: so where there is no talebearer, the strife ceaseth"
People mistakenly assume that if the information they are "telling" is accurate, then it isn't gossip. But why would gossip be more acceptable to God just because a person is repeating accurate information about someone else's affairs? It is still none of that person's business.
So ask yourself this question: Am I a revealer; or a concealer?
Don't allow yourself to fall into the trap of discussing and debating things that don't concern you. If you'll let the Holy Spirit help you, He will show you how to walk away from gossipers and thus maintain integrity with everyone.
This devotional convicted me so much! I often find myself listening to gossip because I'm scared of what that person will think of me if I walk away or cut the conversation short.
I often remind myself that if someone is gossiping about someone else, they will for sure gossip about you too. I guess I fall into the trap of not wanting to confront the person because of that fact....that's wrong. I should stand up for what is right.
Here is a prayer that was at the end of the devotional.
Lord, I thank You for speaking to my heart today about gossip. Give me the power to tell others that I do not want to participate in talking about things that are not my business to decide or to discuss. Please forgive me for the times I've allowed myself to be caught up in conversations that didn't glorify You and that wouldn't be considered faithful by those who were discussed. I repent for this and today I am making the decision to walk away from such conversations from this moment forward! I pray this in Jesus' name!