Mildred, the church gossip stayed busy sticking her nose into other people’s business. Several members did not approve of her extracurricular activities, but feared her enough to maintain their silence.
She made a mistake one day when she accused Frank, a new church member, of being an alcoholic, after she saw his old pickup parked in front of the town’s only bar one afternoon. She emphatically told Frank and several church members that everyone who saw his truck parked there would know what he was doing! Frank, a man of few words, stared at her for a moment and just turned and walked away. He didn’t explain or defend himself or deny anything.
Later that evening, Frank quietly parked his pickup in front of Mildred’s house and walked home. He intentionally left it parked there all night!! (You gotta love Frank!) Needless to say, Mildred’s days of gossiping came to an end.
Last week we talked about how many of us struggle with gossip or being gossiped about. It causes a great deal of pain and divides friends, families and co-workers. This week, we’ll spend a little time talking about gossiping in church. We will explore how to stop church gossip because all churches have a “Mildred” and deal with this problem.
Gossip destroys reputations, ruins careers and breaks up families once the words have left the lips of a gossip. Unfortunately, anything can happen. I have wondered over the years how many lives have been lost to an outright lie or rumor, how many jobs have been lost in the workplace because of lies, or God forbid, marriages have been ruined because of lies and gossip!
These are a few quotes that I enjoy sharing when dealing with a gossip:
Live in such a way that you would not be ashamed to sell your parrot to the town gossip.
Whoever gossips to you will gossip about you.
The only time people dislike gossip is when you gossip about them.
What you don’t see with your eyes, don’t witness with your mouth.
We cannot control the evil tongues of others; but a good life enables us to disregard them.
–Cato the Elder
Never tell evil of a man, if you do not know it for certainty, and if you know it for a certainty, then ask yourself, ‘Why should I tell it?’
–Johann K. Lavater
If you have a problem with gossiping about others, it’s time to quit. Just stop! People who have reputations about being a gossip don’t realize what people think about them. As adults we need to see how destructive gossip can be. For some people it comes as a natural act and don’t even realize they’re doing it.
During my senior year in college, a classmate came up to me and asked why I was talking about her. I told I had no clue what she was talking about. She proceeded to tell me what I said about her. I stopped her and told her I had never said such things and then asked her who had spread that lie. She told me it was a secret and refused to tell me. That’s when I looked at her and repeated to her that I had said nothing about her and to asked the person who gossiped to meet the three of us and settle the matter once and for all. The person who had been gossiping didn’t want to meet with us. The woman apologized to me and appreciated my willingness to confront the person in question.
In closing, the way to stop a gossip in their tracks is to avoid these people at any cost. Many heart aches can be prevented if you are willing to stop the meddling people who gossip. It’s up to us – all of us – to help make the world a better place, and stopping gossip is a step in the right direction.
Have you been a victim of gossip and need help in getting over it? Do you want to confront a gossip who is harming your family? Do you need help in moving on and letting go of someone who hurt you through gossip? Are you someone who needs help in stopping your gossip habit? If you answered yes to any of these questions, give Dr. Mike a call he can help you.