Mentoring

To Gossip Or Not To Gossip

Gossip. I imagine we’ve all done it at some point in our lives. The word gossip as a noun means a person who habitually reveals personal or sensational facts about others; a rumor or report of an intimate nature.  As a verb it means to relate gossip. Not the most positive of definitions, I’d say. And we can’t forget what Paul says in Ephesians 4:29, “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.” Dang. I can’t tell you how many times I have revealed personal facts about others all in the name of “praying for them”.  And sometimes?  Sometimes I just wanna share some juicy stuff about people, especially if I don’t really care for them. I’m just sayin’. So, how do we do this?  Especially us women who tend to be far more relational and sharing. I think it comes down to motive. Chris’ and my story has been shared not only by our senior pastor nearly seven years ago, but also by my husband in his messages and by me on this blog.  Since that time, many others have shared our story with people they know.  I even heard a girl say one time about us, “I feel like I’m gossiping.”  And to her I replied, “Well, don’t.  We have this story on the worldwide web so I think you’re good.” 🙂 However, sharing personal information about someone who has placed his or her confidence in you would be crossing the line.  Disclosing negative things about someone just for spite is highly inappropriate as well. So, what do you do when you want to share some personal and intimate stuff about others for reasons of genuine prayer?  Ask the person.  See if they are comfortable with you sharing the information about them.  Let them tell you what they want you to share.  You’ll find that many are open books and don’t care what you tell others.  Still others will be more private and ask that you share that “they need prayer.”  If they don’t want you to share their lives with others just say, “I really am not at liberty to say anything out of respect for my friend.” People might get offended and the situation may become a bit awkward because of your honesty but really, that is their problem.  Don’t make it yours. Whatever the situation, use your discretion and consider how you would feel if the following information was shared about you.  That sure might make you adjust what you are about to say. Is gossip your struggle?  What other suggestions might you share with others about overcoming a desire to gossip?

12 thoughts on “To Gossip Or Not To Gossip”

  1. This is exactly what I have been working on this year! This specific thing! I never thought I really gossiped that much until I tried to stop… gossip definitely covers more than just calling someone to share something you just found out about someone. I’ve found we gossip a lot more than we think! Thank you!

  2. Stop caring so much about others and their business… believe me they are spending so much time thinking about themesleves, that they are not thinking about you. That’s the cycle… MYOB!

  3. thank you for the insight. Thank you tellling us it comes down to motive- i will ponder that for a while.

    this is such a hard and complex subject and something that keeps coming up over and over, so I think it must be me, or the way i handle things. i just need to be keenly aware at all times.

    I also have decied that pretty much all i want to talk about is Jesus Christ and Him crucified!!! 🙂

  4. I like … no: LOVE the idea of asking permission before sharing it as a prayer request. I’ve been two very difficult situations in my life that were shared (to varingly degrees) as prayer requests… I didn’t want a dang thing mentioned to anyone unless I told them personally. Even with making that explicitly clear, the news was still passed around with the best of intentions.

    Those best of intentions have left me feeling guilty for having NO gratitude towards those who shared my struggles with others.

    So. Yeah. ASK first. ASK always.

  5. I heard a quote once that only boring people talk about other people.

    I try to keep things confidential. A few months ago, we had some friends over and I told my friend something about my sister-in-law. My sister-in-law was there….it wasn’t a mean thing or a behind her back thing. She felt I broke her trust about this.

    Gossip is information that is not yours to spread.

  6. I’m always out of the loop in everything because I don’t really get into that kind of stuff. So if you want info about anything or anybody I’m definitely not the person to ask 🙂 I’m a believer in MYOB. However, I know I’ve shared things about people with the sincere heart for that person to pray for them. But you know what, I never asked that person’s permission at all to share what they told me with others. Which means it was gossip. Ouch. So thanks for the advice. I’m definitely going to take it and ask people before I share things with others.

  7. I intentionally don’t want to know stuff about others so that I won’t be tempted or slip up and repeat it. I learned this lesson the hard way when I became friends with a girl who had a serious issue with this and I’m ashamed to say that the more I was around her, the more it became a problem for me.

    This year I’ve been letting God nip it in the bud. It did nothing positive in my nor anyone else’s life.

    When someone starts to tell me something juicy about another person I politely ask them to refrain from telling me. And when it comes to being tempted to “talk” myself, I just DON’T. I make a conscious effort. And yes, it takes discipline not to.

  8. At our women’s group there have been quite a few times that we have prayed for someone and the person who has brought the request to the table has called it the “You know their need, Lord” prayer. All the rest of us only know the first name of the person. Works for me. I can contnue to pray for that person and I don’t have to know the “Gossipy” part of it.

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