Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Nothing To Talk About

“For it is God’s will that by doing good you should silence the ignorant talk of foolish people. Live as free people, but do not use your freedom as a cover-up for evil; live as God’s slaves.” 1 Peter 2:15-16 NIV

I read a quote awhile ago that I wanted to share with you. It simply said "live in such a way that if anyone should speak badly of you no one would believe it." There will always be foolish people who are looking for someone new to talk about. They live a soap opera type of life: a constant drama taking place at all times. Their favourite words are: "did you hear that?" and "did you know this?" We know these people to be gossips and we also know that God doesn't like a gossip but what do we do about them?

Once again, God's Word gives us instruction to handle even a situation like being gossiped about. 1 Peter 2:15-16 tells us that we can shut them up by living a good life. We will all make mistakes but for as much as we are able to, with God's help, don't give the gossips anything to talk about. Don't give them ammunition against you. The final part of those verses tells us to 'live as God's slaves' or in other words: live according to what pleases Him and we'll stay out of trouble. 

What about when the gossips are talking about something that we really did? What if they're not lying but telling the truth and constantly rehashing it over and over again? If we have failed and have done something wrong, we need to quickly admit our guilt and ask for forgiveness of the people we have wronged and of God. Then when we hear the gossips hard at work again, we can honestly say 'yes, I did wrong but I've repented and I've been forgiven.' You see, the world can't say 'I'm sorry', but the child of God can and when we do the world doesn't know what to make of it. It baffles them. Even in our humble apology Christ gives us strength. We may be on our knees but when we admit our guilt we're able to stand tall. 

Our goal should be to make a difference in our world: to live as ambassadors of Christ so that everyone we come in contact with will see the difference in us. When you treat others as Christ would have you treat them people will never believe falsehoods against you. When you are kind and sweet and generous and helpful and peaceful and loving and gentle, and a foolish person dares to speak against you, their words are just empty words and no one will ever believe them because they have seen the opposite with their own eyes. 

22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Galatians 5:22-23

If you are the victim of gossip comfort yourself with knowing that God knows the truth and He will be your defender. He will vindicate you. And besides, gossips always need fresh stories, they grow tired of old news. So very soon, they will have moved off of your story and on to someone else. Even if we were the ones who gave them the ammunition in the first place, they will quickly run out of their fiery darts and go seeking new ammo. 

Below are a few tips on how to handle gossip:
1. Don't tell the gossips to mind their own business. This only makes it look like you have something to hide.
2. Treat the gossiper kindly. Smile at them. Show them that you are a better person.
3. Go to source of the rumor and confront them. Usually a rumor starts with only partial truth. 
4. Live your life so that people will know the rumor is not true.
5. Continue to live your life as if nothing ever happened.
6. Be honest and calm when confronted with a rumor. If you show anger or that it has upset you, you will be giving the gossips more ammunition to use against you. It will look as if you are guilty.
7. Be brief and concise when asked if the rumor is true. Don't start 'telling the whole story', it will only look like you are defending yourself or trying to hide the truth.
8. Be confident. Hold your head high and know that your true friends wouldn't believe the lies being told about you and those who would were never your friends to begin with.
9. Pray. Prayer has a way of putting all things into perspective. Pray for your enemies (Matthew 5:44).
10. Romans 8:31 "What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?" Remember God is on your side!

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