Stop Gossip with Kindness
The Whisper in Your Ear
So, a co-worker of yours brings up another co-worker in conversation and takes it upon herself to judge her work flow. Maybe your co-worker tells you how horrible it is to work with another co-worker because she has a bad attitude. Work can be a hostile environment of gossip.
It's easy to get caught up in these conversations with others especially if we agree with what's being said. But is it nice? No, it's not, and it hurts others. That little conversation that was supposed to be meaningless has become dishonesty between you and the one you spoke of.
Maybe you never thought of it that way, being dishonest by talking behind one's back, but isn't that what you have done? You have gone and said things that you never would want that person to know you said, and would never say those things to that person's face.
It is dishonesty, and we lose ourselves in unkindness when we participate in it. So, we need to understand it, and stop it.
Gossip Goes Deep
In Leviticus 19: 16, God tells us,"Do not go about spreading slander among your people." Again in Proverbs 18:8NIV, He tells us , "The words of gossip are like choice morsels; they go down to the inmost parts."
Gossip has huge effects on the one gossiping and the one gossiped about. It fills us with ugliness and meanness that sets us up for more of the same in different aspects of our lives. The one gossiped about can feel betrayed and alone. We have all been one or the other. Did either one feel good? It may feel good at first to talk about another, but later the guilt comes. You may even feel bad at the time of doing it because you know it's wrong.
Stop the Gossip with Reason
So how can we stop the gossip? We know we shouldn't do it, but at times it's difficult to stop because of peer pressure maybe it feels good to talk about someone at the moment.
I had a co-worker that I enjoyed working with often. We talked about different things together and we had a lot in common. One evening I spoke to her about another coworker because I felt she didn't do her part at work.
Her response was less than what I expected. I thought she would feel the same. She worked there too after all. I knew she had seen our co-worker's habits, and had to agree with me. She answered with something like, "Maybe she has things going at on home that are distracting her. " I went on with my tirade because I was angry now that my friend wasn't agreeing with my observations.
Her next response was similar to the first. It was a reasoning for our fellow co-worker that I had not thought of at all. Why was she defending this person who obviously had issues with her work ethic? I was the one in the right here because I was a good worker, and I wasn't letting my personal life interfere with my work.
But I wasn't in the right. I was talking ill of another person,and my friend could be right. Maybe our co-worker did have something dramatic going on in her life that was taking her attention away from work. Maybe she needed my prayer instead of my tongue lashing.
Even if it wasn't true that she had something going on in her life, maybe she needs my prayer anyway to help her become a better worker.
So, I never gossiped to my friend again, and it made me think twice about gossiping. She stopped the gossip by way of turning it around with reasoning.
Stop Gossip with Avoidance
Another way to stop gossip is to act ignorant that one is even gossiping. When someone is trying to gossip about another person, change the subject. Act as if you didn't even hear his negative talk, and begin discussing something else completely-avoid it. One cannot gossip without someone to listen to it, so don't be that listener.
Maybe that didn't work, and the person speaking to you tries again with the gossip, avoid it again. Switch the conversation. Surely any person would get it that you are not interested.
If they continue, maybe be outright with your feelings and tell them you are not interested.
Gossip or wood is needed to fuel fires.
Stop Gossip with Thoughtfulness
When engaged in conversation with another and you feel you may share a tidbit of information, think before you share it. Ask yourself some questions. Does this person really need to know what you are about to say about another person? Is it beneficial to share it? Would you want it shared about you?
I believe if we all asked ourselves these first, we wouldn't share our tidbits but sparingly if at all. I have tried to do this often. I have had an internal struggle of wanting to share something I know, but knew it wrong to do so. I have failed and won that struggle. Each day is anew in hopes that I will win.
How about we all try this? Let's make an effort to thwart gossip by being kind and think before we speak.
Psalm 141: 3 NIV
"Set a guard over my mouth, Lord; keep watch over the door of my lips.