I'm sick of being gossiped about.
Especially by Christians.
You know, people who read passages like "Love one another," "Don't lie," "Whoever is sinless can cast the first stone," and of course, "God hates gossip."
Sister Mary Martha has a fine, practical article on how to identify and handle gossip.
Also, the Four-Way Test of our friendly neighborhood Rotary Club reads:1. Is it the TRUTH?
2. Is it FAIR to all concerned?
3. Will it build GOODWILL and BETTER FRIENDSHIPS?
4. Will it be BENEFICIAL to all concerned?
- Speak the truth. Is this a fact or just speculation?
- Love others. Assume the best, not the worst. Am I acting in concern and respect for others? Is it my business? Is it the business of the person I'm telling it to?
- First parties first. If there is a dispute, the first approach is to talk to the parties directly involved (Matthew 18:15-17). If the issue is not settled, take a few witnesses; if not, involve the entire church. Yes, in that particular order, not the other way around.
- Forgive as God has forgiven you. For most of my life I've been the gossiper, not the target, so it's easier to understand and (supposedly) forgive those who are now doing the same to me.
To be honest, I'd rather not see the people I think are gossiping about me, and I'd rather not hear them. But I don't want to assume anything. I can confront each one to get the facts straight, but that's too draining, physically, emotionally and socially. I'll just go ahead to the forgiveness part: Forgive them if my hunch is right, ask and claim God's forgiveness if I'm wrong.
And ask and claim God's forgiveness for my own gossiping ways.
So put away all malice and all deceit and hypocrisy and envy and all slander.For this is the will of God,
that by doing good you should put to silence the ignorance of foolish people.
Live as people who are free,
not using your freedom as a cover-up for evil,
but living as servants of God.
Honor everyone. Love the brotherhood. Fear God.
(1 Peter 2)