Put out the fire!
Girlfriend, are you someone who gossips?
The topic has been heavy on my heart the last few months. Although it has been weighing on my heart and at times felt overwhelming, it was not a burden but a blessing. God used this new found vision to refine my spirit. God gives us eyes to see the motives behind a spirit for protection and oh what a blessing! I believe that He wants me free from all gossip. And just the same He wants you free sister!
I think it is safe to say as women, we ALL have been affected by gossip. We have ALL been the ones to gossip and I am sure we have ALL been gossiped about. We live in a time that everyone desires to know everything about each other’s lives. Just look at social media for example. We are a society who is obsessed with knowing every detaiI about each other
Sadly, gossip affects us all. You see it in families, friends, and in strangers. Gossip doesn’t cease to exist in any environment, it starts early in grade school, and it ends up in work, church, annnnnnnd I could keep going but I will have to name every area in the world, ever.
We aren’t perfect, but part of walking with God is growing into perfection. We won’t be perfect till we get to heaven, but until then God continues to work on issues piece by piece so we can become who HE calls us to be.
Gossip was never a major issue in my life, (or so I thought.) I have never lost relationships due to it. So when God started to give me revelation to this subject, my denial was shattered. I do gossip! More than I would like to admit! 🙂 It is something I have struggled with, I just wasn’t ever aware because the enemy is so sneaky. I think gossip affects our lives more than we know!
The enemy comes to steal, kill, and destroy. The enemy creates division in our lives. Division is the enemy’s goal! And gossip does just that, divide! Gossip ruins people’s names, it literally is a form of murder because it kills a person’s reputation. Let’s look at it this way, when we gossip we are HELPING the enemy form lies. When we have a habit of gossiping, we give the enemy a foot hold, and I’m not sure about you lady, but I want to do everything to protect my walk and my relationships.
What is Gossip?
Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines Gossip:
- information about the behavior and personal lives of other people
- information about the lives of famous people
- a person who often talks about the private details of other people’s lives
Let me break it down for you, gossip is any negative thing said about someone else. The above definition says information which would mean all information, but I strongly believe if your edifying and lifting up someone else, you can do no harm. Let’s state it simple, if it doesn’t have anything to do with you or the person you are in the conversation with, it becomes gossip! If it is not edifying, it is gossip. End of story.
As God started revealing this Spirit to me, I also realized how there seems to be so many gray areas in this subject! Maybe, that is why we struggle so much with gossip. We may think we have all the facts to a situation and call it truth, or we may use the fact that someone needs prayer to tell other people about someone else’s problems. We may feel it is our right to judge a situation or a person. But when it comes down to it, there is no gray areas with God. When is it ok to talk about someone else? When is it ok to voice concern? I think the reason we have such an issue with gossip is because our intentions can feel right, but it doesn’t mean they are just. If you have honest intentions does it allow you to do someone else harm? No. When in doubt, go to a person yourself and voice your concern, or get on your knees and pray for them! I am not saying we ignore bad behaviors or sin. If someone is struggling and they are not receiving anything from you, use discernment and wisdom to get outside help. We are called to bring darkness to the light.
Ladies, our words speak life or death. God gives us the tools to bring life into a conversation. He gives us the love we need to love others. Proverbs 18:21 tells us death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruits. I want to be someone who speaks life! As women we have power in our words! We can be edifying and impact others in a way that changes the environment or we can tear people down. What kind of woman do you want to be?
As God started to give me revelation on gossip, I had a vision of gossip to be like wildfire. I can’t do this vision I had justice, but let me try to explain.
“It only takes a spark, remember, to set off a forest fire. A careless or wrongly placed word out of your mouth can do that. By our speech we can ruin the world, turn harmony to chaos, throw mud on a reputation, send the whole world up in smoke and go up in smoke with it, smoke right from the pit of hell.” – James 3:5-6 (MSG)
How is gossip like wildfire?
- It only takes a small spark to start a huge wildfire. Just like it only takes a small piece of information to start a storm of Gossip.
- Fire spreads quickly, and so does gossip! A fire can take down a whole neighborhood in less than an hour. Gossip can change the view of someone in an instant.
- Fire can be beneficial to keep us warm, and it can also be destructive. Information can be useful so you can pray for someone or offer help but it can also be a weapon to be used against someone.
- Fire is extremely destructive. Gossip is extremely destructive.
- Fire kills. Gossip murders a name.
- Firefighters who are trained to put out a fire have the risk of being injured. I think the same happens in Gossip, when someone tries to put it out, they can often be hurt in the process.
- An innocent bystander can get burnt just by being close. Gossip can effect an innocent person. Someone can overhear gossip and in an instant their view on the person can be destroyed.
- Like fire, the more gossip spreads, the more dangerous it can become.
- Wildfires produce their own weather, which makes them dangerous and unpredictable. Gossip can start storms in storms. It can be unpredictable and hurt more than the parties involved.
- A wildfire generates its own wind, which destroys more environments. The Spirit that we let in by gossiping effects all the environments we live in. We are called to be atmosphere changers not damage environments.
For lack of wood the fire goes out, and where there is no whisperer, quarreling ceases.” – Proverbs 26:20
Let’s be people who put a fire out, not start a wildfire.
How to stop gossip: Put out a fire!
- Make a personal choice. We can’t control other people; therefore we are not going to be able to stop other people from gossiping. We can only control ourselves and not partake in the behavior. Make a commitment to God you will not gossip.
- Don’t compromise! Usually best friends tell each other everything, come on ladies, you know it is true and that is where I see gossip begin. We are called to be transparent right? Now there is nothing wrong with telling each other everything about you! We are to live honest and upright. But when you start to tell your friends everything about other people that is an issue. Don’t compromise no matter who you are talking to.
- Edify. Work on building people up. If what you are saying doesn’t edify of someone else then it shouldn’t be said. If you are questioning if something is Gossip, ask yourself, is this edifying?
- Unity. God loves unity! We are called to live in unity with our sisters. Gossip tries to divide. Make an effort to bring unity into conversations, give people the benefit of doubt and encourage others to keep an eternal perspective!
- Stop the behavior. Stand up for what you know is right. If someone comes to you and literally throws up information or their opinion all over you. Politely say, I love you but I don’t want to gossip. It won’t take long for people to take a hint that you are not going to continue the behavior.
- Be prepared. People don’t always like when you try to put out the fire! People may react defensively when you tell them you don’t want to gossip. Remember the light shines bright on darkness. Others may feel like you are calling them out, and that is ok! Your decision to not gossip has nothing to do with them.
- If you have an issue with someone, go to them. Go to the person and talk truth in love. If we are honest and living a life set apart, there is no need for gossip.
- Slow to speak. I have learned not everything is my business. Guard your heart and think about your words before they come out of your mouth. (Trust me I know this can be hard!) But God equipped us to think before we talk. When in doubt, go to God, ask Him what He would have you do.
- Think wisely. When we are heated or emotional is when gossip tends to spread. My wise pastor says, “When people offend you tell God, not gossipers. TAKE IT TO THE THRONE, not the phone! God heals hurt. Gossipers make it worse.” – Pastor Jay Haizlip
- Don’t judge a judger. If you have people around you that gossip, recognize and rebuke this behavior. But don’t judge them for their faults, that is God’s job not yours!
- Be a grace giver! (And give yourself grace too.) This walk is a learning process. Give out grace like God gives it out to you. And don’t forget to give yourself some too if you fall short. “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”- Romans 3:23
- Pray, pray, pray! Pray for protection over gossip. Pray for God to reveal to you if you are participating in gossip. Pray for people in your lives that gossip. Pray for those who are getting gossiped about. God wants to use you as a light to change this atmosphere! Get on your knees and pray for someone.
- Fill up. This is not a works thing, you don’t have to be perfect, God does the work not us, I find when I am focused on God, my words become graceful and edifying. The more light we let in, the less darkness comes out.
The moment I decided I would no longer participate in this behavior, I swear the enemy came at me with opportunity after opportunity to get engulfed in gossip. It is a constant battle. But you are anointed for this! Stand firm and remember God is on your side. This is a battle and He gave you the best weapon, His word.
Use the sword to overcome:
- Whoever keeps his mouth and his tongue keeps himself out of trouble.- Proverbs 21:23
- Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear. – Ephesians 4:29
- Whoever meddles in a quarrel not his own is like one who takes a passing dog by the ears- Proverbs 26:17
- Do not speak evil against one another, brothers. The one who speaks against a brother or judges his brother, speaks evil against the law and judges the law. But if you judge the law, you are not a doer of the law but a judge. – James 4:11
- But no man can tame the tongue. It is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison. With it we bless our God and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in the similitude of God. Out of the same mouth proceed blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not to be so. Does a spring send forth fresh water and bitter from the same opening? Can a fig tree, my brethren, bear olives, or a grapevine bear figs? Thus no spring yields both salt water and fresh. -James 3:8-10
- Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. – Philippians 4:8
- And to aspire to live quietly, and to mind your own affairs, and to work with your hands, as we instructed you. – 1 Thessalonians 4:11
- Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love. – Ephesians 4:15-16
- A dishonest man spreads strife, and a whisperer separates close friends.– Proverbs 16:28
- Whoever goes about slandering reveals secrets; therefore do not associate with a simple babbler. -Proverbs 20:19
- I tell you, on the day of judgment people will give account for every careless word they speak. – Matthew 12:36
- But avoid irreverent babble, for it will lead people into more and more ungodliness – 2 timothy 2:16
- The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly. – John 10:10
- Whoever covers an offense seeks love, but he who repeats a matter separates close friends.- Proverbs 17:9
- If anyone thinks he is religious and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his heart, this person’s religion is worthless. – James 1:26
- To speak evil of no one, to avoid quarreling, to be gentle, and to show perfect courtesy toward all people. – Titus 3:2
- They were filled with all manner of unrighteousness, evil, covetousness, malice. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, maliciousness. They are gossips.. – Romans 1:29
- Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. – Ephesians 4:31
- Let all things be done for edification.- 1 Corinthians 14:26
- Gracious words are like a honeycomb, sweetness to the soul and health to the body.- Proverbs 16:24
Sister, you were made to speak life! Don’t settle for anything less..
Do you have any tips to help stop gossip? Leave a comment to encourage others.