It’s Not Gossip If Your Head Is Bowed
Those who consider themselves religious and yet do not keep a tight rein on their tongues deceive themselves, and their religion is worthless.
I love catching my mother in sin. One time I heard her on the phone with a friend talking about another friend’s “issues” and I busted her. I said, “Mom, you can’t talk about someone else’s issues. You are a Christian!” She said, “Baby, we don’t have issues. We have prayer requests. I just needed to know how to pray.”
When I started taking my faith seriously, the number one thing God convicted me of was my mouth. I have always been an excellent and highly entertaining storyteller. But just because it’s funny doesn’t mean I should share it. Or just because it’s dramatic doesn’t mean I need to reenact it. But I brought so much joy to people with my stories! It was so very hard for me to catch myself in this sinful habit. I didn’t really want to stop when I didn’t feel like I was hurting anybody. And my best audience was my closest friends. I had a bad habit of calling them when I felt wronged or slighted all in the name of “I need advice” but that wasn’t true. I just wanted them to tell me I’m right.
I wasn’t being malicious, but I’d recount the situation under the disguise of asking for their advice. Maybe I really did want advice—or maybe I just wanted to tell my side of a story so they could reaffirm that
- The situation was not my fault.
- The other person was crazy and owed me an apology.
- I was a saint for not retaliating after being sooooooooooooo wronged.
I think my gossip habit stemmed from a deep-seated need to be told I’m right. So now that I’m supposedly a mature Christian, how do I deal with drama? Do I run and tell Jesus all about it? I try to, but I usually end up muttering to Him something like, “You saw that, right? Are You going to deal with them since You won’t let me?” I still struggle with situations that give me knots in my stomach, and I truly want advice on how to handle my frustration. What can be done without hurting someone?
So I came up with this plan. When tempted to gossip, I call a friend and say, “I have a situation with my friend Kimi and I’m only going to tell you facts. Then I want you to tell me the most godly and appropriate way to deal with my feelings.” The genius idea? Her name isn’t Kimi, it’s actually…Ha-ha, gotcha! By not revealing the name of the person I’m having a conflict with, I am able to discuss calmly what happened without feeling guilty. And in the end my friend tells me it’s all my stuff that’s upsetting me and really not the other person much at all.
In today’s social media, internet-trolling, mean-spirited world, gossip is a blood sport, and I don’t want to be an all-star player. So how do we resist when “everybody’s” doing it?
Just know when someone says something mean-spirited about another person and then ends it with, “We need to pray for them,” it’s still mean-spirited. Praying doesn’t make it okay to gossip. Do you think the Proverbs 31 Woman was tempted to chew the fat around the watering well with the other ladies and talk about whose husband was being more useless at the city gate?
So the test I give myself when I’m tempted to discuss another person is to ask myself, “Could Jesus be in on this conversation and say it was okay?” We don’t have to keep all our feelings inside when we’re hurt and struggling, but we do need to be strategic about who we share them with and how. Like, one time my friend…Come on, did you really just fall for that? If you want to hear all the good stuff, come to one of my next shows. I tell juicy stories for a living!
To Think On
- How much is gossip a part of your life? Do you have friends who constantly drag you into gossip?
- If so, how do you handle it? Do you go with the flow to get the juicy info?
- Have you considered this person might gossip about you if they gossip about others?
- Do you check yourself before you overshare?
It’s hard to find the line between asking for advice or expressing concern and actually gossiping about another person. Please show me when I’m about to cross that line in my conversations and give me the tools I need to keep my mouth shut. If I have something juicy to vent about, remind me that You are there to listen and then nobody gets hurt. And besides, You are the one who can change my hurting or angry heart.
In Jesus’ name.
Taken from: SHE RISES LATE AND HER KIDS MAKE HER BREAKFAST
Copyright © 2019 by Kerri Pomarolli
Published by Harvest House Publishers
Eugene, Oregon 97408
Kerri Pomarolli is a writer, comedian, speaker, and the ultimate Proverbs 32 Woman. She tours nationwide with clean comedy at top Christian and secular venues, with film and TV appearances. Known as “Hollywood’s Favorite God Girl,” she lives with her daughters in LA by the sea. She is the author of two books, Confessions of a Proverbs 32 Woman and She Rises Late and Her Kids Make Her Breakfast, available now from Harvest House Publishers. kerripom.com