Gossip is Contagious

GossipGossip is contagious. Someone will say, “Guess what I just heard…” and many of us won’t think twice about asking, “What?” In fact, we might just delight in the possibility of hearing something juicy or negative. More so if the target of gossip is someone who’s offended us. Payback.

That’s exactly what happened the other day. The words, “Guess what I heard…” sounded in the room, and I didn’t hesitate to join the pack of wolves. I felt justified. After all, this person has a list a mile long of her offenses, so she was deserving of our disdain. But not long after, while I was attending to a mundane task that didn’t require my mind to be occupied, the Holy Spirit got a hold of me. “Is this the behavior I expect from my children?” Shame heated my face, and I asked God for forgiveness.

When I taught school, I was in a work environment that reeked of gossip and backstabbing—and it didn’t come from the students. Remembering the clique of teachers who were dubbed the “mean girls” while I contemplated my own poor behavior was a divine reprimand. I was no better than they.

James 3:3-6 states: We can make large horses go wherever we want by means of a small bit in its mouth. And a small rudder makes a huge ship turn wherever the pilot chooses to go, even though the winds are strong. In the same way, the tongue is a small thing that makes grand speeches. But a tiny spark can set a great forest fire. And the tongue is a flame of fire. It is a whole world of wickedness, corrupting your entire body. It can set your whole life on fire, for it is set on fire by hell itself. 

So how do we guard ourselves from partaking of this behavior? We’ve all heard how important it is to stay connected to the Spirit—pray, memorize scripture and meditate. But the Lord gave me an additional solution while I was reading Charles Stanley’s devotional in In Touch for February 7, 2014. Write a mission statement for your life. Of course the timing was perfect (it always is with God.)

Chris and I have been discussing the formulation of a mission statement for his office over the last few weeks. It’s a declaration of what you stand for. In the case of his practice, the manner in which he wants to serve others. It’s no different from an individual statement. God has a purpose and plan for each or our lives—and I guarantee gossip and sinful behavior isn’t in His plan. Although Charles Stanley encourages people to write a statement about how they’ll spend their time serving, I feel it’s important to have a statement about who we are as children of God. How will others perceive us? Because if those around us can’t tell we’re Christians by our attitude, then our walk isn’t what guides our behavior—the enemy does.

If you don’t receive Charles Stanley’s In Touch magazine, you can visit his website to request your free monthly copy.

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