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Do You Have “Lip Slip”?

by Katrina Cassel

Does gossip have a way of slipping out of your lips?

 It can destroy a person in a matter of minutes, ruin friendships, cause deep wounds, permanently damage self-esteem, and isn’t a WMD (weapon of mass destruction) or some Katrina-like natural disaster. It’s gossip.

Have you ever said—or worse yet— repeated comments like these?
“Hannah got all A’s on her math test—she probably had to cheat to do it.”
“Did you hear that Nick’s dad drinks? Usually when the parent drinks, the kids drink too.”
“You’ll never guess what I heard . . . Sheila might be pregnant.”
If you’re thinking, Gossip isn’t that bad since everyone does it, you’re wrong! Solomon, the wisest man who ever lived, wrote this about gossping:
• “What dainty morsels rumors are—but they sink deep into one’s heart (Proverbs 18:8, NLT).*
• “Evil words destroy one’s friends”  (Proverbs 11:9, NLT).
• “There are six things the Lord hates—no, seven things he detests: haughty eyes, a lying tongue, hands that kill the innocent, a heart that plots evil, feet that race to do wrong, a false witness who pours out lies, a person who sows discord among brothers (Proverbs 6:16-19, NLT).
God hates gossip.
Gossip isn’t just spreading untrue facts, according to Proverbs 11:13. Gossip is also revealing stories or facts, told to us in confidence, or relating negative, harmful information about another person. Most of us know a few things about several of our friends or enemies that they don’t want other people to know. On the flip side, they probably know a few things about us that we don’t want others to know—so keep that in mind!
Why gossip?
If gossip is so harmful, why do we do it?
Is it because gossip has the power to attract interest and attention?
Is it because gossip makes the listener feel  worthy of our confidence?
Is it because negative gossip makes others look bad and makes us look better?
Do you ever use gossip as a way of venting anger at others?
Think for a minute: the same friends who enjoy your gossipy stories may wonder if they’ll be the next victim of your tongue. No wonder James wrote a whole chapter about the tongue! Get this: “No one can tame the tongue. It is an uncontrollable evil, full of deadly poison. Sometimes it praises our Lord and Father, and sometimes it breaks out into curses against those who have been made in the image of God. And so blessing and cursing come pouring out of the same mouth. Surely, my brothers and sisters, this is not right! (James 3:8-10, NLT).
Watch your words
If you have trouble with gossiping, try . . . 
• thinking about what you’re going to say before you say it. If you find yourself just saying things just to be talking or to get attention, try quoting trivia facts, not comments against a person’s reputation. There are tons of fascinating things to talk about that won’t hurt others.
• listening to others. If you’re like most people, you usually think more about what you want to say next than about what the other person is saying. Rather than jumping right in the second the other person finishes speaking, take time to digest what they’ve said. Doing this gives you a chance to respond intelligently, which may keep you from slipping out a piece of juicy gossip without thinking about it.
• avoiding gossip competitions. You know what those are—conversations where each person tries to outdo the other with a piece of gossip—“If you think that’s bad, just wait until I tell you about . . .” Will what you’re going to say   uplift the person you’re about to talk about, or will it damage their reputation?
• remembering what Colossians 4:6 says: “Let your conversation be gracious” (NLT).
*Scripture quotations marked NLT are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Wheaton, 
Illinois 60189. All rights reserved.
Katrina Cassel, M.Ed., lives with her husband, five of their children, and an assortment of pets in the Florida panhandle. 

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