I was recently talking with a few women, and had to step into another room to put my baby to sleep. While I nursed my baby to sleep, I listened to their conversation and realized how most of the talk was centered on discussing other women. I then thought to myself, I wonder what women would talk about if they never talked about others. Don’t get me wrong, women still have plenty of other conversations from cooking, to being a mom, to healthy living, but it seems gossip too easily sneaks it’s way into a conversation. Some women struggle with it more than others, but I think it can be easy for all of us to fall into the gossip trap.
I know that I have been guilty of gossip far too often. The Lord has really placed this on my heart through the years, and I’ve recently become even more convicted of it as I’ve observed how consumed women are by it (this doesn’t exclude men, but I think women seem to struggle with it more than men). I spent some time really thinking on why we get so drawn into gossip, and there were three main reasons that stuck out in my mind.
1.) Comparing ourselves to other women. I think all women tend to do this with or without gossip. I know there are times I see a woman that’s pretty, or seems like she has everything (house, kids, appearance, etc.) under control and I immediately start counting all the areas in my life that don’t match up. I’m feel like I’m not pretty enough or a good enough mom. This can be such a dangerous poison to our minds. We can start harboring these ungodly feelings and start making ourselves feel better by pointing out flaws in other women.
Of course, there’s nothing wrong with looking to other godly women as examples, and genuinely searching our own heart for ways we can change and grow to become more Christlike. But unfortunately we often try to find flaws or faults with other women instead of recognizing all of their wonderful traits.
Pointing out an area that a woman is struggling in as a wife or mother, or doing something that we’d just never do, somehow makes us feel like we have it all together in comparison to that woman. Sometimes we even point out an area of sin in another woman’s life. We feel ok doing this because it’s something that goes against God’s Word. Instead of praying about how to approach her as a sister in Christ, we justify talking to other Christian women about her. And we are left feeling good about ourselves because her struggle is something that we don’t struggle with, so we must be a much better wife/mom/woman than her.
2.) For the sake of a prayer request. Christians often feel it’s ok to share something about someone else for the sake of prayer. If the person has given permission to spread their prayer request, then by all means, tell everyone to be praying! But often times we feel it’s ok to share people’s private lives with other people for the sake of a prayer request. Bringing the word ‘prayer’ into anything makes it feel justified in our minds, but gossip is still gossip with or without the word ‘prayer’.
I once shared a prayer request with a friend and a few days later had someone I barely know come up and say they were praying for me. I was a little embarrassed knowing that my request was not kept private. Thankfully it wasn’t anything too extremely personal, but it could have been, and that would have been even more embarrassing and hurtful.
When someone shares a prayer request with you, lift that person up in prayer daily! Understand that it may have taken them a while to come to you with this request, and that sharing it with another believer could be very hurtful to that individual.
3.) Genuine, harmless concern. Sometimes we truly just feel concerned for an individual, and our intentions are completely pure. But this still doesn’t make it ok to gossip. Sometime’s we might see a ‘flaw’ in someone’s character or something they struggle with and genuinely want the best for that person. If the situation happens to be that someone is in need of financial help or groceries, it can still be handled discreetly by anonymously collecting for that person.
There could also be certain situations that are very serious, and do call for another opinion on how to help that individual, but in this situation it would probably be best to seek both your husband and your church pastor on how to proceed.
I know at one time or another I have been guilty of talking about someone else, instead of keeping my thoughts to myself and praying. It is my desire to be more vigilant about the words that come out of my mouth in regards to others. I hope this post has helped you to examine your heart, and encourage you to hold your tongue next time you’re given the opportunity to gossip about someone. Instead, let’s pray for each other and build one another up!
“Set a guard over my mouth, LORD; keep watch over the door of my lips.” –Psalm 141:3
“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