Gossip: I hate it. I also really struggle with it. (Maybe you do too, I don’t know). What I do know is that for me, personally, it’s something I’ve participated in way too many times and it is a specific area of my life that God has been showing me really needs to change. For as long as I can remember, I’ve heard gossiping being excused away as something that “all girls just do.” I’ve commonly witnessed (and even been guilty of) someone being negatively talked about in a conversation and tacked onto the end of all the negativity is, “All that to say, just pray for ______, they’re really struggling.” That’s terrible, I know. It doesn’t reflect our Savior and it doesn’t bring any glory to God. It seems like every time I’m faced with the fact that my gossiping needs to stop, a new opportunity for me to gossip or talk negatively about someone rears its ugly head and I’m right back where I found myself too many times before. I want to bring glory to God and gossiping is definitely not a way to do that. I also want to be a good, Godly example to my daughter and I do not want her to hear her mommy speaking negatively about other people, who are made in God’s perfect image. It’s discouraging and disappointing when I fail at my attempts to stop talking negatively about someone. But that’s just it – they are MY attempts….my imperfect, human attempts.
Recently, I did a devotional that completely changed my perspective on this subject. I have been going through the She Reads Truth Women In The World: Old Testament Bible study. It has been so eye-opening for me and challenging to my life in a number of ways. On June 12th, I read Day 12 of this specific Bible study and God started working in my heart about specific changes that needed to happen. That day, I prayed that God would help me to not say anything negative when faced with the opportunity to gossip. Sounds easy enough, right? WRONG. First of all, many of those attempts failed. I found myself giving into temptations more often than resisting them. It was discouraging to say the least. Secondly, the truth is that I didn’t fully understand the need for a heart change. I simply prayed that I wouldn’t say anything negative. So if a group of my friends are talking negatively about someone and I don’t say anything, yet in my heart I’m only thinking negatively towards someone – does that make it wrong? ABSOLUTELY. That concept changed everything for me.
Today, I went back and read that same devotional again. This time, I ended not with a prayer that God would help me to refrain from saying negative things, but instead that God would change my heart. It isn’t enough to simply hold my tongue when I have a heart full of negativity. God knows the true intents of my heart. Even if I’m “holding my tongue” and not verbally participating in gossip, if in my heart I am feeling negative towards someone or thinking negative thoughts about them, God knows. He knows the depths of my heart and in fact, the Bible tells us that God actually searches the heart! (Jeremiah 17:10). Psalm 19:14 says, “Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable to you, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer.” This verse really struck home with me because both the concepts of our words AND our hearts are mentioned and should be pleasing to God. I don’t know about you, but that really put things into perspective for me. When we have a heart change – a true, genuine heart change that only comes from God – we can glorify Him with our words as well. Now, that’s not to say we won’t fall or struggle, because we will. That’s the Christian life… and that’s the beauty of His GRACE.