I was a young pastor’s wives, and as green as I could be when an older teen girl came to me with a problem. She began by saying, “I need to talk to you, but you have to promise not to tell anyone about this.”
Of course I would keep it a secret – that’s what pastor’s wives were supposed to do, right? Well, sort of. As she began to share her problem with me, I realized that the root of the problem was due to a sin in her life…one that her parents didn’t know about, but that they needed to hear. Now what was I to do? I had promised to tell no one! How I regretted having listened to her in the first place! I felt stuck!
Recently in our New Members Sunday school class, the question was posed,
How could you stop gossip in your church?
One of the class members answered that by sharing a story that sounded very similar to my own. He said,
A lady in a church had issues with her husband. She came to the church leaders about it. She told them they could not tell her husband what she had said, and they agreed. When a third party was brought in to help resolve the problem, he listened to her for about 45 minutes and then said,
Every one of you men need to get on your knees and repent of listening to gossip because that’s what you’ve done. Without being able to talk to her husband, there’s no solution, and this is only spreading gossip!
How I wish someone had told me that years ago! The situation I was in with the teen girl taught me to always tell someone who came to me that they could share whatever they wanted, but if there was sin involved, I would take the necessary steps and talk to the people involved so that a biblical solution could be found.
If you want to squelch gossip, don’t listen to it if you’re not a part of the problem, or if you’re not able to help with a solution by telling the necessary people. That will stop it immediately. If you don’t listen to it in the first place, you won’t have to worry about repeating it!
I recently read this verse in Psalm 17:3 which could be applied to lots of ways we sin with our mouth, but it certainly applies to gossip:
I am purposed that my mouth shall not transgress.
I have said that verse OUT LOUD to myself since I penned it in my journal last week! Sometimes it takes true, intentional and purposeful effort NOT to sin with my mouth by sharing words, and sometimes by not listening to it in the first place!
By the way, in case you’re wondering, the situation with the teen ended by my husband and I meeting with her and explaining that I had been wrong, asking her forgiveness, then letting her know it was her responsibility to tell her parents…or we would have to. She did. Whew. I chalked that one up as a Lesson for Denise!
Refresh your speech and cease from gossip!