“Without wood a fire goes out; without gossip a quarrel dies down: (Proverbs 26:20 NIV).
In myI talked about gossip. As a review, Webster defines gossip as ”easy, fluent, trivial talk, talk about people behind their backs.” It is repeating information about another person’s private affairs. If you have to look around to make sure that no one can hear what you are saying, you are probably gossiping. If you would not say something in front of the person you are talking about, then you’re probably gossiping.
But it takes two to tango the gossip dance. “Without wood a fire goes out; without gossip a quarrel dies down: (Proverbs 26:20). The Bible tells us to make every effort to avoid gossipers (Proverbs 21:19, 20:19). A good rule of thumb is if you are not part of the problem or part of the solution, then keep the information to yourself.
Paul warned, “Some of you are living idle lives, refusing to work and wasting time meddling in other people’s business,” (2 Thessalonians 3:11 NLT). Other translations call such people “busybodies,” (NAS, NIV). And listen, putting the words, “we need to pray for so-and-so” before the gossip doesn’t make the gossip any less gossip.
One day a woman felt overwhelmed with guilt over her years of malicious gossip. She went to the local priest and confessed her sin. The priest was all too aware of her wagging tongue and had experienced the sting of her words first hand….or rather second hand.
What can I do to rectify all the damage I have caused with my gossip?” she asked.
“Gather a bag of feathers,” he began. “Then go around to each house and place a feather at their door.”
That seemed like a simple enough request, so the woman did just as the priest had instructed. After the task was complete, she returned. “I have done what you requested,” she said. “Now what am I to do?”
“Now go back and retrieve each of the feathers,” he replied.
“That is impossible,” the woman argued. “The wind will have blown them all around town by now.”
“Exactly,” replied the wise priest. “Once you have spoken an ill word, it drifts through the air on wings of gossip, never to be retrieved. God has forgiven you, as you have asked. But I cannot remove the consequences of your hurtful words or gather them from the places they have landed.”
Here’s an idea. If a friend approaches you with some “news” or a “concern” about another person, stop and ask, “May I quote you on what you’re about to tell me?” That will usually “put a lid” on the conversation before it even begins.
In my last post, I asked if you would be willing to make your life a NO GOSSIP ZONE. I just thought we might need to ask that question one more time. (I love you! Don’t be made at me!)
If you are willing to take the challenge, leave a comment: “I’m living in a NO GOSSIP ZONE. If you’ve already done it, you can recommit your commitment: “I’m STILL living in a NO GOSSIP ZONE.”
OK Lord, I’m coming to You with this request again. Please help me not to gossip. Help me not to repeat a matter that is none of my business. If I’m not part of the problem or part of the solution, help me to keep my lips zipped. May the words of my mouth be pleasing in Your sight! In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Now It’s Your Turn
Since my last devotion on gossip, have you been more aware of the words coming out of your mouth?
Have you begun a story, only to stop before it actually came out of your mouth? I have! Praise God!
Consider writing this verse on an index card and taping it to your bathroom mirror.
“May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, O LORD, my Rock and my Redeemer.” Psalm 19:14
Today’s blog was taken from my book, The Power of a Woman’s Words. If you would like to learn about how to control your words and use them to speak life into those in your sphere of influence, then this is the book for you. Visit the Bookstore page to download a free chapter, watch a video or place an order.