“Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, so that it will give grace to those who hear.” Ephesians 4:29 (NASB)
After church, two women giggled at their rare chance of conversation in the midst of their busy lives. One of them paused for a moment and then thought, “Now, I can get this off my chest,” Pushing down guilt, she shared about how one of her friends had treated her badly. The other woman gasped, sipping her coffee in delighted horror at the fascinating details of her friend’s recounting. The ladies bonded over that trial, validating one another’s concerns and pretending for as brief moment that they themselves were never party to such pithy manipulations.
Deep down however, both women felt a tug of something else during that discussion. Joy didn’t permeate their hearts they way it did when they were in right relationship with God. The gossip that had tasted so good at the beginning was hard to swallow. The Holy Spirit inside of them was reminding them that gossip masquerading itself as righteous recounting doesn't settle well. It ultimately leads to relationship death, not life.
Next time you are confronted with the urge to share some unsavory news about a friend or family member who has mistreated you, ask yourself if this information will be life-giving for the friend you are with, or even life-giving for you to repeat. If we feel we need to talk it out, even after God tells us to make sure our conversation is edifying, consider a more biblical and direct confrontation (see Matthew 18:15-16).
When we disobey Scripture to vent and gossip, we are telling God we don’t trust Him with the outcome of our story. We’re trying to find comfort in something that will never satisfy. Remember God is just — He can be trusted! So if you need to vent to someone, He is always available. It’s never gossip when you’re talking to Him!
Dear God, thank You for reminding me that You have something far better for me than gossip or slander. I trust You know my situation and will help me not to be overshadowed by someone else’s malicious behaviors, intended or not. You won’t let anything get in the way of the dreams You have placed inside of my heart, the things You want for me. I receive that now. You have called me toward a purity of speech, and I want to honor You in that way today and every day. So please help me to take every thought and word captive, and release them to You. Amen.
Next time you have a chance to talk with a friend, if and when the urge to gossip presents itself, try to steer conversations to more life-giving topics. If you need to process your situation, consider going to a pastor, counselor, or someone who has no relationship with the person you are in turmoil with. FInally, don’t forget to take it to God, who is always there to listen and to offer the perfect wisdom to you.