Saturday, June 14, 2014

Gossip

A few years ago, I was the subject of some specific gossip. (I'm sure it has happened more often but I have pretty thick skin.) It made its way to my ears and my feelings were hurt; I mean really hurt. The person who was talking didn't know all the facts surrounding the circumstance and was assuming some things that were not true. It made me look awful.

Gossip: Don't Pass It On
I love this person but it has been difficult to be in their circle of friends. Maybe that means I haven't completely forgiven them but I sincerely am trying. I just want so badly to tell everyone the truth about what happened. I wanted this person to ask me for the details; I would have spilled it all but nobody ever did.

I still walk around wondering who thinks I'm the terrible person I was portrayed to be. Was this information offered to one other person or to many?

I try to avoid gossip. It isn't easy and sometimes it is really hard. I remember a friend who was going through a very difficult time in her life reached out to me once for support. I wish I had been the friend she needed me to be but every time I turned around, there was gossip about her. I was polite, I talked to her at church but I didn't stretch out my hand in love and friendship the way I should have. I was affected by the gossip.

That friend is gone now. I'm confident that nothing I could have done or said would have changed the circumstances of her leaving. But in my heart, I know I at least could have taken a stand about the gossip going on. I wish I would have had the courage to remind my group of friends that we didn't know the details and that it wasn't our place to be discussing it.

I would like to suggest some ways to rid gossip from our lives.

Find something better to do.
A lot of people are searching for something to occupy their day. Instead of reaching out and serving others, they find themselves busy with idle chit chat to fill up their life. They gossip on the phone, at lunch with friends and on social media. If you need something to do, call your local church leader, local school, shelter, soup kitchen, etc. and volunteer. Make your hands so busy that your mouth doesn't have time to bring others down.

Offer positive remarks in response to gossip.
While visiting with friends, if Mary starts talking about Julie in a negative way, offer something like, "I saw Julie volunteering the other day," or something to that effect. We can't stop the words from coming out of someone's mouth, but we can make the last words someone hears about that person, positive ones.

Consider the Golden Rule.
Would you like to have others talking about you the way you talk about others? Think before you speak. Turn on your brain before opening your mouth.

Go to the source.
If you want to know the truth about someone/something, go to the source. Ask the person directly involved. If you are too uncomfortable to ask, then it's probably none of your business.

Stop Gossip.
If you hear something that you aren't sure is true, don't share it. Keep it to yourself. That's all there is to it.

I love the saying that is attributed to several sources that says:

The words of the tongue should 
have three gatekeepers:
Is it True?
Is it Kind?
Is it Necessary?

Our words have the power to heal or to hurt. What do you want your words to say about you? I hope we can be found lifting others up instead of tearing each other down. There is enough ugly in the world, let's find a way to add beauty.

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