Monday, February 10, 2014


Do you gossip?

One of the questions on our staff application has to do with gossip. Every applicant gets asked to tell us their personal views and involvement with gossip. It's sometimes funny to read the responses. Most people are willing to admit that they gossip, but there's always some disclaimer about how they're getting better at it. My personal favorite are the applicants who attempt to assure us that gossip isn't something that they ever struggle with or partake in (kind of like the guy applicants who tell us they've never had an issue with pornography).

I recognize that it's unfair to assume that everyone has struggled with these things, but it does go back to me valuing honesty. Then again, we usually try to put our best foot forward in a job application. I get it.

But, here's the reality of the situation (at least for me):

I gossip.
I do.
It's not anything I'm proud of and nothing that I'm satisfied with...but if you were to ask me if I sometimes talk about other people negatively behind their back? I'd have to say yes. It happens.

Why am I telling the world this?
Because in my recognizing of how destructive it can be to people within a community, I've wanted to point my finger at other people. I've wanted to tell other people to remind them of how detrimental it is. Don't you know that you talking about this to everyone isn't going to bode well for your relationships? Don't you know how terrible it is? Don't you know that you're breaking down trust? Don't you know that you're settling in life? I sometimes want to scream...

And then, it dawned on me.
I do it, too.
Not always, not to everyone...but there are some people whom I feel I can vent to, people whom I trust....and so I, for whatever reason, think it's justified.

It's not.
It never is.
Truthfully, in my quest for honesty, I'm sometimes (to a fault) pretty upfront about how I feel towards people. If you're doing something that I have a problem with, I'll usually address it. I'm usually pretty open about what I think/how I feel (especially if you've upset me)...but that doesn't mean I won't go tell a trusted confidant what I told you about what I thought about your actions (i.e. Listen to this conversation I just had....etc. etc.).

In my willingness to admit my suckiness to you, I think there are some solutions in which we can all actually move forward within this. In recognizing a need to sometimes vent about our lives, I'm wondering if we can be better about venting in an anonymous sort of way. We don't need to name names when we are talking about our struggles in our lives to our close friends. And, no matter what we're struggling with, we don't need to talk about people in a way that is attacking or accusatory. There's never a need for slander.

If you aren't willing to talk to a person about the ways they are annoying you, frustrating you, hurting shouldn't be willing to talk to anyone else about it. My painful confrontations have often made me aware of how much conflict arises simply out of miscommunication or misunderstanding and if we're just willing to sit down and talk to a person about it, oftentimes there can be much resolution.

I've also been made aware about how sometimes we just don't know that what we're doing is causing someone else to be annoyed. If I knew that I was chewing loudly, I probably would try to control it when I'm around others.... but unless someone tells me, I won't ever know. I think, a lot of times, we get annoyed by other people's habits (especially the closer we are to them) and instead of bringing it up with them, we just talk about it behind their backs. If it's something that can be changed, why not mention it? Or, just get over it and keep your mouth shut. Us talking about it isn't going to be beneficial to the person it's about in any way...unless we're willing to talk to them about it.

I think that we often forget the gravity of sin.
That we forget the gravity of gossip (which, in case you forgot, is a sin). Perhaps we rationalize it by insisting that what we're doing isn't gossip....but if you're saying something and you know that another person would be hurt by your words about them, you better believe it's gossip. I don't care who you're talking to and I don't care if they'll never tell another soul. It's still gossip. It's still sin.

When we say the things we say about various people in our lives... we can't forget the cost. We can't forget that blood has been shed for the forgiveness of that sin. We can't forget the gravity of it. We can't forget how destructive it is. How it can sabotage community, friendships, it can destroy trust.

Can we be people say that we hate gossip and then actually hate it? Can we refuse to do it? Can we be slow to speak and quick to think through the things that come out of our mouths before we let them come out of our mouths? Can we not spread negative images about people? Can we be people who edify and build each other up.... who serve and love well... no matter how frustrating, confusing, annoying, socially awkward, broken someone is?? Can we be willing to dive in deeper to get to know someone before just establishing them as a person unworthy of your love and energy? As a person who is unworthy of kindness and grace?

Because people matter.
And our words about them matter.

I pray that our eyes would be opened to the weight of our words. That we would be people who avoid slander and bad-talking at all costs. That, even to our closest friends, we would speak about others in a way that is life-giving... no matter what they've done to us, no matter what they've said about us. That we would be willing to turn the other cheek. That we would be unified in Christ, despite all the differences that make us unique.

We have to stop gossiping about each other.
It isn't an option any longer.
Man up. Go have hard conversations when you need to, with the people you need to have them with. Bear with one another in humble and gentle.

It isn't a suggestion.
No more justifying, no more rationalizing. We just have to stop. And, when others try to do it around us, we have to stop it.

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.

We have to change.
We can no longer settle.
Strive towards better in all areas of your life, including this.

Your entries will remain anonymous

No comments:

Post a Comment