This is written while looking into a mirror.
You are working in an office, and you walk down a hall and hear your name mentioned in conversation, or hear a conversation that you had with someone else being repeated. It is so easy to complain about someone when they upset us, or treat us in a way that we do not like. We have to be very careful not to sin against that person, and ultimately God by gossiping about things. Forwarding emails, texting, phone calls, face to face chats, and the like about someone else is not acceptable. The Bible clearly tells us that if we are offended by someone to go to THAT person (Matthew 18:15), not others. The Bible is full of verses on this; there are 17 verses in the Bible about taming the tongue, 26 verses about gossiping, and 48 about slandering. God makes it clear that we are not to do it. Gossiping is talking about something that is going on in someone else life. Slander is malicious, false, and defamatory statement or report. It may not be exactly gossip, or slander, but if we talk about what someone has done in a negative light, or make that person look poorly, we are not doing what Christ commanded. He loves us all, and does not desire for anyone to tear another down. "Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice. And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you" (Ephesians 4: 29 -32). If someone comes up to you and says did you hear about so and so?... simply say, no, and you should go talk to so and so. I have hurt in my heart for the times I have chosen to talk about a situation instead of confronting it, and have asked God to forgive me. He has, but I still have sorrow knowing that I have done this. This has been my prayer as of late: "Set a guard, O Lord, over my mouth; Keep watch over the door of my lips. Do not incline my heart to any evil thing, To practice wicked works With men who work iniquity; And do not let me eat of their delicacies" (Psalm 141: 3-4). I like the image someone has put out of a broken plate. A caption goes along with it that reads:
Drop the plate on the ground... What happened?... It broke. Now tell it you're sorry... What happened?... Nothing, it's still broken. Exactly. Words can do this.
We are all different, all important, and all have individual purpose. "For as the body is one and has many members, but all the members of that one body, being many, are one body, so also is Christ" (Romans 12:12). All of us were created for Him, by Him, and for His glory. "For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them" (Ephesians 2:10). Just because someone behaves a different way than we do, doesn't make them wrong, bad, or anything other than different from us, which is a good thing. We all need each other as members of the body, and not one of us, or our position is better than any other. I'm not saying that there are not times that people need to be talked to about behavior, choice of words, etc, but the talking should be done with that person, not other people. Talking about other people hurts the person being talked about, as well as hurting your own character. Food for thought... If someone is talking to you about someone else, what are they saying about you behind your back? "Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart Be acceptable in Your sight, O LORD, my strength and my Redeemer" (Psalm 19:14).
Father God, please keep me mindful of my words and the power that they hold. Remind me how it feels to know when I have heard someone talking about me, remind me that this is not what You desire from me. Please continually surround me with Your Holy Spirit through in and out and protect me from the evil that is when talking about someone else. Thank You for piercing my heart with this, showing me that You care, and desire me to be more like You. Please continue to lead me in Your ways, and to glorify and honor You. In Jesus' Name, Amen.
"See how great a forest a little fire kindles! And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity. The tongue is so set among our members that it defiles the whole body, and sets on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire by hell. For every kind of beast and bird, of reptile and creature of the sea, is tamed and has been tamed by mankind. But no man can tame the tongue. It is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison" (James 3: 5 - 8).
"He has shown you, O man, what is good; And what does the LORD require of you But to do justly, To love mercy, And to walk humbly with your God?" (Micah 6:8). Live it.