Just For Today
A Daily Approach to Prayer and Scripture
Tuesday, March 3
“Gossips alienate close friends.”
Pr 16:28 CEB
WHEN THEY’RE GOSSIPING ABOUT YOU (1)
Tabloids, talk shows and tattletales thrive on a diet of gossip. Indeed, we’re each likely to spread our share of it and receive our share of it. And whether it’s based on truth, fiction, or bits of both, doesn’t make it any less hurtful. Though society considers it as relatively innocent, God puts gossip in the same company as “backstabbing…conceit, and disorderly conduct” (2Co 12:20 CEB). So, when you’re the target of gossip, what can you do? (1) When possible, ignore it. People who gossip get satisfaction out of upsetting you. So the more you get upset, the more they gossip. Don’t react in anger; that just fuels the fire. “Without wood a fire goes out; without gossips, conflict calms down” (Pr 26:20 CEB). (2) When appropriate, correct it. Gossip can wreak havoc and break hearts. So if you can set the record straight you may be able to contain the damage. But forget about attempting to “tell everybody you know the real story”; you’ll only spread the flames, widen the exposure, and feed unhealthy appetites. Solomon said, “The words of a gossip are like tasty bits of food; people like to gobble them up” (v. 22 NCV). Step back and ask yourself who’s really important in your life, then try to correct the record with them. In time, they’ll vindicate you with others. In many cases their words will come across as being more objective than yours. If the gossip is based on truth or partial truth, don’t deny or excuse yourself. True friends always forgive and defend their friends. And gossips generally find juicier rumors, move on, and leave you alone.
Wednesday, March 4
“Without gossips, conflict calms down.”
Pr 26:20 CEB
WHEN THEY’RE GOSSIPING ABOUT YOU (2)
Do these three things: (1) When necessary, confront the gossiper. If the offender is a Christian, stand on this Scripture: “If your fellow believer sins against you, go and tell him in private what he did wrong. If he listens to you, you have helped that person to be your brother or sister again” (Mt 18:15 NCV). Now your goal in confronting them isn’t to prove them wrong and you right, it’s to bring reconciliation and preserve unity in God’s family. Watch your tone. “Don’t sin by letting anger control you” (Eph 4:26 NLT). Stick to the facts. Without putting them on the defensive, seek to find a resolution that stops the gossip and repairs the damage. If they’re willing to acknowledge their part, be ready to forgive. If they’re not, forgive them anyhow—for your own sake and God’s sake. And remember, they may continue to be your brother or sister without being your trusted friend! (2) Don’t let gossip diminish your self-worth. If your self-worth depends on what others say, you’ll always feel down when you’re put down. Let your self-worth rest on what God’s Word says about you. Regardless of your imperfections, the Bible says you are “the redeemed of the Lord” (Ps 107:2), “accepted in the beloved” (Eph 1:6), “the righteousness of God in [Christ]” (2Co 5:21). Focus on God’s estimation of you and “build [yourself] up in your most holy faith” (Jude v. 20 NIV) in spite of others’ opinions. (3) Don’t judge others by rumor-mill reports. Whether gossip is truth-based or false, its intent is always to “destroy” (Jn 10:10 NIV). Don’t do Satan’s work for him!