“How Do I Avoid Gossip?”
Written by Christi Given | April 7, 2014
Every week, I go through the “Girl Talk” section of Project Inspired and look for those seeking advice and counsel. I want to help answer some questions you may have about living out your Christian life and walk of faith! We want PI to be a safe place where you can ask questions.
This week, a PI Girl mentioned she has a great group of Christian friends, but some people she hangs out with tend to gossip. She knows gossip is a sin, and wants to address the problem in a gentle, loving way. To read the full post in the Girl Talk Forum, click here.
One thing I want to point out is that it’s great this young woman recognized gossip in her circle of friends, and it also shows her character and relationship with God that she acknowledges it to be a sin.
Gossip is often a difficult sin to identify. The reason people don’t consider it to be as big of a sin is because it’s merely talking. But words are VERY powerful and can be very harmful if used in the wrong way.
“So also the tongue is a small part of the body, and yet it boasts of great things. Behold, how great a forest is set aflame by such a small fire! And the tongue is a fire, the very world of iniquity…” —James 3:5-6
God’s Word talks about gossip, which the Oxford Dictionary defines as “casual or unconstrained conversation or reports about other people, typically involving details that are not confirmed as being true.” The Bible talks about the power of the tongue and of words, and also discusses the destruction of gossip.
In Proverbs 11:13, it says: “He who goes about as a talebearer reveals secrets, but he who is trustworthy conceals a matter.”
Observe the people you hang out with and listen to what they speak about. A person’s character is usually made known by what the heart speaks. (Luke 6:45) It’s good to be around people who are positive, uplifting, loving and speak kind words about others. It’s likely that if you’re around someone who gossips, they probably gossip about you, too, so beware.
“A perverse person stirs up conflict, and a gossip separates close friends.” —Proverbs 16:21
PI Girls, don’t partake in gossip. If something comes up that’s not nice or positive about someone, walk away—or if you’re bold enough to say something, tell your friend in a loving way that you don’t gossip. Another option is to change the subject. Prayer is also a key factor in this. In life, it’s inevitable we’ll cross paths with a gossiper, but let’s try and uphold a godly standard of what we know is right. No one is perfect, but being aware of the harmful consequences is a way to remember to not be around and/or give in to the temptation of gossip.
Tips to Avoid Gossip and/or Address Gossip:
1. Pray. Talk to God about the friend(s) who are talking behind other people’s backs. Ask Jesus to intervene and to give you boldness when you speak up about not wanting to be part of the gossip.
2. Walk away. If the girls you are around ignore your feelings and your beliefs after you’ve expressed them, that may be an indication they’re not like-minded friends who support you. If they notice you walking away, maybe they will address and change their behavior.
3. Change the subject. If you’re in a group of people who are gossiping and you don’t want to walk away or are too afraid to say something about it, then change the topic and pray. God will fight for you.
4. Acknowledge gossip. Don’t keep ignoring this sin. Acknowledge it, repent and, if necessary, change the people you hang out with. Gossip eventually leads to people’s feelings getting hurt, false information or distorted stories. Gossip isn’t healthy and is not of the Lord. Try your best to show others the love of Jesus, and treat people (Luke 6:31) and talk about people the way YOU would want to be spoken about.
I love you, PI Girls! Comment below and write a prayer request or another verse about how your words have power.