Even though I knew God spoke specifically to women about not gossiping (1 Timothy 3:11 and Titus 2:3), I did it anyway. The Holy Spirit led me to change my heart and empowered the purification process I still continue to go through. I want to be known as a woman who is a friend of women; a woman who is for other women rather than being against them. What did that entail? Sharing words that are full of grace (Colossians 4:6), kind (Proverbs 16:23-24; 31:26), pleasant, constructive, and instructive. It also means having speech edify and minister grace to our hearers (Ephesians 4:29).
Have you ever sat down with a group of friends to have joyful, encouraging fellowship only to have the momentum start swinging in the direction of gossip? I think we all have. If you are a young lady then I believe it is pretty safe to say that you have at least once in your life entertained the thought of joining in or have actually participated in gossip. Some of us have even been clever enough to mask it as prayer or concern, haven’t we? Hopefully we have all allowed the Holy Spirit to change our heart. So what do we do when we are around those who still gossip?
Five Ways to Avoid Gossip
- Speak life over the person who is being targeted. When someone becomes the focus of the conversation and is being projected in a negative light, speaking positive things about the person will usually cool down the heated discussion. Something as simple as, “Susie? Oh, I just love her heart for children. Don’t you?” can give you control of the conversation.
- When approached by someone who is known to gossip, try to be the one to start the conversation. Some people still have a difficult time overcoming the battle of gossiping. When you are being approached by such a person it helps greatly if you set the tone for the discussion.
- Be upfront about your convictions toward gossip. Sometimes you just have to know when to speak up. If you are constantly bombarded with gossip from a particular group of friends or a specific person then let them know that you have a hard time hearing things that you have no business knowing. Don’t be judgmental towards them but let them know where you stand.
- Redirect the conversation. I know ladies who are awesome at the fine art of redirecting a conversation. I honestly think that in the spare moments of life, they think of things to say to redirect a discussion gone sour. In the middle of hearing, “Well did you see what Sindee wore to church on Saturday?” she interjects and says, “Oh forget that! Let me tell you what I did in the coffee shop the other day…” and of course, she regains control of the room and no one is worried about what was going to be said about Sindee anymore.
- Pray. We can make it a point to pray before we gather with a group of friends and we can also make it a point to pray as soon as all of your friends arrive to the gathering. Speaking words through prayer such as: “Father, help us to keep our conversation pure, lovely, and of good report” are often all you need to prevent a friendly evening from getting ugly. If you can’t do that or if it is forgotten, praying silently helps to purge your heart and requests for God to intervene.
We have all likely been the targets of such gossip and most likely we have all been sharers of these so called “juicy morsels.” What we need to remember is that no one is perfect and we can’t expect them to be. The only person we can attempt to change is ourselves. If you work to modify your own mindsets in this area, then you will not only have saved your soul from these negative words but you could very well be a shining example to your friends.
Dear Lord, please help me make it my goal that, in every encounter, others are better off for having been in my presence. May I always speak life over your children. Amen.
In A Young Woman’s Guide to Making Right Choices, Elizabeth takes teens through the step–by–step process of making decisions that are life–affirming, godly, and wise.
What do you do to avoid gossip? Are you still tempted to gossip? Pray today and confess gossip as a sin. Ask the Holy Spirit to empower the purification process in your heart.
The only person we can attempt to change is ourselves. If you work to modify your own mindsets in this area, then you will not only have saved your soul from these negative words but you could very well be a shining example to your friends.