Recently, I was with a group and felt myself being unusually quiet. I was trying to stay engaged, but I felt completely disinterested and…bored.
The group was talking about people and recounting stories of their past that weren’t exactly flattering. Some of the subjects of conversation were actually people who have hurt me in the past. Let’s be honest, it feels satisfying when people don’t like someone who hurt you. But I actually sat there feeling bored, checked out and gross. What had come over me?
When I got home that evening, I reflected on this change in me. I’ve been praying that I would grow in love and loving people well in 2016 and I felt really excited to have lost interest in gossip. In my time with God, I was like “yay! aren’t you proud of me? I didn’t participate in that conversation!”
His response was, “Yes, but you also didn’t stop it.”
Sitting there silently in the middle of idle chatter and gossip made me just as guilty. It was awesome to have had the breakthrough, but I needed to take it a step further and call it out.
We all know that gossip is wrong, hurtful, harmful and divisive. So why do we itch to do it? What is our fascination with highlighting the offenses in others? I don’t think just knowing gossip is wrong will change us. There has to be something more. It has to be deeper than that.
The root of gossip is fear of people, feeling threatened, a lack of trust in God, a need to be right or validated and a need to control. There may be times it’s not necessarily mean spirited or negative, but it’s unproductive and not uplifting.
Whoever goes about slandering reveals secrets; therefore do not associate with a simple babbler. Proverbs 20:19
Our interest in gossipping or discussing people is directly correlated to our identity.
We may know consciously that we have a royal identity, but has our subconscious mind had a revelation in that?
We are heavenly creatures, seated in heavenly places with the mind of Christ. We are co-laborors, daughters and queens. When we get full revelations in who we are and the more we choose our royal nature, we lose interest in topics that aren’t meaningful, noble, excellent or praiseworthy.
A queen knows her inheritance, she knows who their Father is, she knows she is secure in Him. Queens don’t know feel the need or even have time to talk about people or offenses. They are too busy going about the Kingdom’s business.
A pauper doesn’t know if there will be enough, she doesn’t know who her Father is. Paupers compete and compare because other women pose a threat to them since they live in a paradigm where they aren’t loved and there isn’t enough.
Check out this chart to see which you’re relating to.
Someone offends me:
- Goes directly to God in prayer
- He helps me see the offender with compassion
- Forgives and prays for the offender
- Digs for a reason to praise the offender to others
- Feels peace and is right in God’s sight
- Tells people about it
- Fuels conflict
- Causes division among friends
- Scratches for a reason to gossip
- Feels turmoil and feels detached from God
God chooses trustworthy people to carry out important tasks. I want to be a trustworthy person. I want people to feel safe with me. I want to be someone who won’t repeat an offense so people can have the freedom to mess up without the fear of their name being slandered.
I love this illustration of love covering shame in Genesis 9: 21-23
When he drank some of its wine, he became drunk and lay uncovered inside his tent. Ham, the father of Canaan, saw his father naked and told his two brothers outside. But Shem and Japheth took a garment and laid it across their shoulders; then they walked in backward and covered their father’s naked body.
What a beautiful example of what covering others in love looks like.
We are responsible for what comes out of our mouths and to think before we speak, for love covers a multitude of sins.
We can do this when we realize we are better than bringing others down. When we are secure in our identity in Christ, we are free to cover and uplift those who make mistakes and to trust that God will protect our heart and reputation when people offend us.
We don’t do it hoping to win with people, we do it because we know we are winning with God and that is what matters.