“LET’S SPILL THE TEA, PEOPLE!!!”
Okay, so whether we call it, “keeping it real” or “spilling the tea,” the action remains the same. It’s all GOSSIP!
Of course, most don’t begin their gossiping as curt as my opening in this blog, but I used those words to paint the point. In essence, that’s what someone is saying when they open fire on a subject or person. It often starts with common phrases like,
“Bro, I just want to ‘warn’ you about so and so…” “Girl, I’m not sure about such and such but did you hear…because I heard…” Some even take the more religious approach to gossip, speaking in the tense of, “Be careful aligning with…because I sense in my spirit that…”
It’s all very crafty when you think about it. For whatever reason, some just seem to always find themselves on the giving end or receiving end of someone’s agenda laced gossip. So, what do you do? How do you handle someone speaking negative words about you? What do you do when the person gossiping is not handling the perceived “ought” the way the Matthew 18:15 instructs? In short, how do we rectify a “wrong” or gossip?
First, let’s get to the basics. According to notable theologian Dan Phillips, gossip can be defined as “…saying behind a person’s back what you would never say to his or her face.” On the opposite scale, flattery can mean “…saying to a person’s face what you would never say behind his or her back.” Also, I think it’s important to note, just because we WOULD say it to someone’s face, doesn’t make it okay either. Remember, it’s not always what we say…but how we say it…
Next, let’s talk about the “why” behind gossip. What I’ve discovered is the answers given are almost never the REAL reason behind the sharing of gossip. When really getting to the root of it gossip is more of a mirror into the heart of person gossiping, than a window out to the person being gossiped about. In short, it’s an insecurity thing. See, anything that attempts to attack your character, is often afraid of your influence. And the way a gossiping spirit attempts to hinder influence is by attacking credibility under the guise of “doing the greater good,” “telling it like it is” or “dispensing godly justice.”
Think back. Someone gossiped to you and says they’re just “keeping it real.” If you’re me, what I immediately do is take into consideration the whole pattern of the gossipers behavior.
Again, what I’ve discovered is if every time you speak to someone they manage to interject someone else’s name into the conversation, chances are, there’s an agenda there and ultimately they’re looking to influence me their opinion. Social studies have also proven people often bond over a common “enemy.” Common enemies are often created by what? You guessed it -divisive gossip. Again, there are many layers to the cancerous actions behind gossip. Nevertheless, when being brought gossip here are some things to consider/ask according to Phillip;
- “Why are you telling me this?”
- “What’s the difference between what you’re telling me and gossip?”
- “How is your telling me that thought, that complaint, that information going to help you and me love God and our brothers (sisters) better, and knit us closer together as a church in Christ’s love?”
Asking questions holds ALL of us accountable and helps BOTH parties to see gossip for what it is and to help work toward a resolution, rather than simply dishing unkind and often untrue information. Also, it’s important to dismantle the excuse behind the gossip. In my years of counseling, I’ve heard every excuse imaginable in an effort to justify gossip. Everything from “I’m keeping it one-hundred” to “…well, it’s the truth!” to “…that person needs to be exposed!” I’ve even heard people claiming, “God said…”
The whole cancer of it again, is unfortunate. Gossip is no respecter of high title, following or anointing. It can flow freely from even the most “spiritual elite” of us. What’s even more disheartening is that some, in an attempt to expose others, really only end up unmasking their own hearts, and insecurities. And although we could pause right here to exegete the scriptures and give the order of how God reveals, heals and delivers, I will say this. Let us always keep in mind God does everything in order. Correction speaks directly, in love and for the restoring of others.
Lastly, I want to speak to those who may have or currently experiencing some time of slander or misunderstanding. My word for you is simply to stay encouraged. The reality is, we ALL have or will face some type of misgivings at some point in life. But like James MacDonald says, “nothing helps us more through a season of injustice than time.” Trust, God will vindicate you in time. Just make sure that if there is something that needs to be corrected on your end, you take responsibility to do your part to correct it. Then leave God to do the rest. Live upright and trust God to fight for you.
See, in the end, rumors really don’t matter. And it doesn’t even matter how “credible” a gossiper may appear or how “sound” they may sound. When God is for you, not only will you stand, you’ll flourish. Remember, GOD has an amazing way of proving you right, without you ever having to say a word (Exodus 14:14.)
So, keep your head up! It may take a week. It may take a month. It may even take some years, but know this; God will always stay true to His word. Just continue to SINCERELY pray for those who speak ill of you. Really, just because they got the report wrong doesn’t mean it can’t be made right. Plus, God loves them just like He loves you and at the end of the day, it’s not HIS desire that ANYONE should perish. Pray God gives them a heart like His…that their words might follow.
So, that’s all. Just wanted to send of a word of encouragement to any who needed it. You will make it through the test and you will outlive it.
God’s got it.
Nikki Washington, The Chaste Life