Whatever is Pure - July 2004
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No, I'm not talking about that juicy tidbit of gossip that tastes so good when first swallowed but sours one's spirit as soon as it is digested. Moreover, I'm definitely not talking about that news that makes you secretly rub your hands together because you just 'knew' the 'truth' would come out about that person who you hoped would one day fall. Destructive, manipulative, vindictive gossip is never good. There is enough teaching and more than enough scriptures warning and commanding us to keep away from this sort of speech. We are cautioned to keep away from such evildoers that would speak slander and delight in seeing the downfall of others.
So, then, what type of gossip am I talking about? Can there be such a thing as 'good' gossip? I firmly believe the answer is yes! Can you encourage and bless others by speaking about others behind their back? Again, I resoundly say. Amen! Is there gossip that spurs us on to good works? Yes! Not only does it spur us on to good works, it speaks new life, creates new dreams and brings forth blessings back to ourselves.
Have you ever had that surprised pleasure that comes when you pass by a couple of people chatting and hear your name mentioned in a positive way? Have you ever met someone for the first time, only for him or her to say, "Oh, I've heard such good things about you!" And you can tell them mean every word of it? What a rush of encouragement it is, when someone notices you in a room and waves you over with a huge smile on their face. "We were just talking about you!" Once again, you can tell by their expression that they were only speaking good of you and not evil. This is good gossip! It tastes good to the tongue and tastes even better when it settles in your spirit.
How did you feel when you heard from others that a friend defended your honour when spiteful remarks were made about you? It probably made your heart glad and brought a deep sense of gratitude and relief.
What's the point? The "Golden Rule" sums it up nicely. Do unto others as you would have others do unto you! If you want to be blessed, bless others first. Let the first words out of your mouth be uplifting and encouraging. Be the first to look for the good in others and the first to share that good with those you meet. Foster a spirit that just can't wait to share the latest good you've seen in someone else. Don't assume someone else is noticing what you notice. That brother in Christ quietly picking up empty coffee cups and washing up after a meeting deserves to be talked about. His servant heart deserves to be recognized. Be swift to tell others your observations of 'good'. Delight yourself in finding out those nuggets of blessing! Search for them and you'll find them right under your nose. Be the first to share those blessings once you find it. Don't be selfish! Tell others about the blessing you found that brother or sister in Christ to be. Let others in on your secret so they too can be blessed. You'd be the first to advertise a favourite chocolate bar or a good movie, so do the same to advertise the goodness in others and the blessings they are to God and His church.
Begin to look for the good and you'll be surprised what you will find. Even within those who you never have quite found a heart connection. If you train your eye, your ear and your heart to be on alert for the good, you will indeed see the good. You'll see the areas that once bothered you about that person become quality traits rather than irritation. For example, their supposed perfectionism may actually be a desire to truly bless others and give only the best in that goal to bless others. Assume the best in others and you usually will get the best in return.
When you are in the midst of a group that is intent on malicious gossip, swallow fear and speak the truth in love. By your example, you can turn the tide and build sandbags of edification to keep out the floods. Floods of maliciousness and pettiness wash away the works of God in not only the lives of those that the group gossips about, but also the very group itself! Try not to rebuke but lead by example, bringing up good points about that individual. If the conversation continues, walk away, rather than take part in the tearing down of a brother or sister in Christ. Never listen to a person's negative report concerning a fellow believer without making sure that person has first gone to that brother or sister in Christ in the hope of bringing reconciliation and healing. Close your ears and your heart to such practices, even if they are being fed you under the guise of a 'prayer request' or a 'concern'. With an attitude of love and humility, don't be afraid to ask the bearer of the negative word the following:
1. How do they know what they are sharing is indeed true.
Don't be afraid to be known in your circle of influence as the person to whom you should not share gossip. Pray that others follow your example.
Always make it your practice to ask yourself a few questions as well. "Is it kind? Is it true? Is it edifying? Does this person need to know this information? Would I say these things if the person in question was standing beside me?"
Does this all sound a bit too Pollyannaish to you? Well, what's wrong with being a Pollyanna? Didn't she change a bitter, pain-filled town into a place full of good cheer and happiness? Didn't she bring healing to a society that had long soured in the pickling juice of evil hearts and malcontent spirits?
A few scriptures for you meditate upon as you ask the Lord to train your lips to speak good and your eye to see the truth through His eyes.
Psalm 37:30 (NIV)
Proverbs 23:15-16 (NIV)
Proverbs 31:8 (NIV)
1 Peter 4:11 (NIV)
3 John 1:12 (NIV)
Ephesians 4:29 (NIV)
Read the very beginning and the very end of many of Paul's letters. Learn by his example and be the first to 'brag up on' those who have blessed you. Be the first to share the good news and be the first to point out to others those people who are a blessing to you and to the body of Christ. Yes, there is such a thing as good gossip. I pray the Lord blesses you with the gift of encouragement and the gift of not only seeing the good in others but helping others see the good as well.
© 2005 2008 Katherine WaldenPlease contact for permission to use.
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