Responding to gossip (1)
None of us like being criticised or talked about, but the only way we can avoid it happening is to say nothing, do nothing, and be nothing – which isn’t an option. When we attempt anything of value or significance, people are going to talk about us. Nehemiah’s enemies tried to stop him from rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem by using gossip: ‘It is reported among the nations – and Geshem says it is true…Moreover, according to these reports you are about to become their king and have even appointed prophets to make this proclamation about you in Jerusalem: “There is a king in Judah!”’ (vv.6-7 NIV). No source was given of the accusations against Nehemiah, they just say that ‘it is reported’. We can often be pulled into the trap of gossip when someone tells us something that they’ve reportedly heard. And if we then tell someone else, we’re continuing the chain. As Christians, we need to take a stand against gossiping, and have integrity when it comes to listening to things from unnamed sources. These comments couldn’t keep Nehemiah from the work he was doing. He responded: ‘I sent him this reply: “Nothing like what you are saying is happening; you are just making it up out of your head”’ (v. 8 NIV). When people are spreading lies about us, we need to stay focused on what God’s called us to do and defuse the situation gently, and with grace. It can be easy to get angry and bitter when we hear that we’re the topic of conversation, but let’s ask God to help us react to gossip in a mature and Christlike way.
Next time someone tells you a piece of gossip, pray for the person it is about rather than telling anyone else.
The UCB Word For You