Read Proverbs Chapter 16.
“A contrary person spreads conflict, and a gossip separates close friends.” Proverbs 16:28
Contrary, in its original form means “a perversity or fraud”. That is what a person who spreads conflict is doing, they are perverting the story or completely lying about it. That will definitely cause conflict. Gossiping is just as harmful.
But how do you know if you’re doing either one of these things?
A few years ago I saw this on a church sign:
“Before you speak, ask yourself: Is it kind? Is it necessary? Is it true?
Words do affect people. What you say affects people. I’ll never forget when I moved to Virginia. I always consider myself an open person. I had flunked out of college in PA and it was my last chance to get my life on track. I moved in with my brother on a Thursday. He had lined up two jobs for me waiting tables, which I started the very next day. One in the morning, one in the evening. I set about the business of saving money for tuition so I could finish my degree. I thought everyone I worked with knew what I was doing. It wasn’t until months later I found out they thought I was pregnant and had moved here to have the baby.
I was astonished. Why in the world would they think that? I didn’t think anything I had done or said had given that impression. Yet that is what people believed of me at that time. It was incredibly hurtful. The only reason I found out was because it became obvious to them after months had gone by that it wasn’t true.
If people don’t know the truth, they make it up. Or they misinterpret what is being said to them. Or they just want to have the scoop on the latest piece of juicy gossip. But gossip is never good. There is never a good reason to spread rumors about people. It will always hurt someone. It will always cause strife. There are two additional filters I like to use when talking about someone else: Would I want this said about me? Am I able to say it to the person directly? If I can’t say it to them, I shouldn’t say it about them.
It’s difficult to always speak uplifting and encouraging words. Wouldn’t you rather be known as a person who builds people up instead of tears them down?
Ditch gossip, embrace kindness.