Wednesday, November 30, 2011

How to Avoid Gossip

One obvious way to avoid gossip is to not be the gossiper. But how does one avoid gossip when people are constantly coming to you for advice? How do you avoid grasping on the choice morsels? 

The reality is, you can be a party to gossip without even uttering one word on your own. So how do you avoid that end of gossip?

Proverbs 26:22 The words of a whisperer are like delicious morsels; they go down into the inner parts of the body.

Here are some practical tips.

a) Check your own heart. Do I delight in hearing this? Does it satisfy me? Do I take pride that people sought me in counsel? Do I savor what I hear? Do I remember such-and-such about so-and-so so that it influences how I think about them? Do I find myself coming to believe what I hear in a manner the prejudices me? Do I then contribute my own experiences to "put the pieces together"?

b) Do I speak against bad reports and bad attitudes I hear in others?

c) When someone comes to me, do I caution someone over the dangers of bitterness? 

d) Do I evaluate whether the person’s comments can stir up strife? Gossip often begins with the pretense of innocence--meaning the person may come with the notion of "I need your help with this problem." Sometimes there is a fine line between true advice seeking and the poisonous attempts to create bias against someone.

e) Do I challenge the person to examine their motives?

f) Do I suggest alternative perspective as to why the person who supposedly did wrong might have had cause to act?

g) Do I always assume people have the best motives? --is the person coming to you for counsel assuming the best motives or are they certain that they absolutely know why the person did such-and-such. A person who comes and is absolutely sure that they've discerned evil motives in someone else may have their own heart issues first.

h) Does my regular ‘being sought for advice’ cause me to think a certain way about the person whom I hear ‘stories’ about?

*This post simply reflects some devotional notes from a Bible study I did a few years back*

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