Erin Davis shares five pieces of biblical advice for dealing with gossip.
We’ve all been there. People are talking and you’re the one they’re talking about. It’s no fun to be the target of gossip. It can be frustrating, embarrassing, and hurtful. Maybe that’s why God encourages us to guard our tongues against gossip in His Word.
Proverbs 18:8 says, “The words of a gossip are like choice morels; they go down to a man’s inmost parts.”
Words hurt. The words of others can leave deep wounds on our hearts, especially when they’ve been shared behind our back. Since we can’t control what others do or say, there’s no way to permanently prevent others from talking about you. But here are 5 tips; straight from God’s Word for how to handle it the next time the rumor mill starts churning out your name.
1. Say nothing
Proverbs 26:20 says, “Without wood a fire goes out; without gossip a quarrel dies down.”
Your reaction will either make the gossip continue or die down. In most cases it’s best not to rush to defend yourself. Without new news there won’t be much to say. I know it’s tough, but most of the time it is best to hold your tongue when others are talking about you.
2. Let your reputation speak for itself
Matthew 5:16 says, “In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.”
1 Peter 2:12 “Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us.”
Establish credibility by living like Jesus calls you to. When others claim that you are doing things you should not, rest in the fact that you live out your faith in a way that makes others take notice.
3. Tall God about your pain.
Don’t perpetuate gossip by talking to others about it. Instead, talk to the one who knows all things and is more than able to keep your confidence and tend to your wounds.
Philippians 4:6 says, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.”
4. Let Him be your defender
Psalm 10:17-18 says, “You hear, O LORD, the desire of the afflicted; you encourage them, and you listen to their cry, defending…the oppressed, in order that man, who is of the earth, may terrify no more.”
Instead of rushing to defend yourself, ask God to be your defender. Ask Him to help you to guard your tongue and to provide opportunities for you to lovingly disprove false accusations.
5. Love on the one who is doing the talking.
Matthew 5:44 says, “But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.”
Proverbs 25:21-23 says, “If your enemy is hungry, give him food to eat; if he is thirsty, give him water to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head, and the Lord will reward you.”
Instead of lashing out, pray for the source of the gossip. Especially if she isn’t a Christian, pray that the situation would give you an opportunity to be salt and light to her. Instead of gossiping in return, look for opportunities to speak highly of her. If you do, she isn’t likely to talk bad about you in the future and may recognize Christ’s love through you.
The old adage “sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me” couldn’t be further from the truth. Words hurt. It’s no fun to be the target of gossip. But, Gods Word offers hope in all circumstances. Trust His advice the next time others are talking about you.