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Miranda Writes: Confused and Hurt




by Omar Miranda



Dear Omar,
I’m writing you because I just got my feelings crushed by someone who I thought was my best friend. She and I are both 16, and I’ve known her since elementary school. I told her something that was very personal about my relationship with my parents, and she told it to several of our mutual friends. It wasn’t like I was being abused or anything, and when I found out that she had told somebody else, I was REALLY hurt! I mean, I told her this, and she knew that it was private and sensitive. She even promised not to tell anybody. When I confronted her about this, she didn’t deny it, but halfway apologized. This happened last week, and now this week she wants to hang out—JUST LIKE NOTHING HAPPENED! I refused to spend time with her and called her a backstabber and gossiper, but she said that what she had told people was true, so it wasn’t a rumor and it wasn’t gossip! I totally disagree! I think that even if something is true, someone can tell your secrets to someone else and still gossip about you. I’m interested to know what you think about it, what the Bible says about it, and how I should handle this with my friend. I mean, I still love her, and I guess I still want her to be my friend, but I don’t know if I can totally trust her right now . . . or ever! Please help. Thanks.—“Confused and Hurt.”


Dear “Confused and Hurt,”

Wow, what an e-mail! You shared a lot of information. I can feel your pain, and I know it’s still very fresh. I’m sorry that this happened to you, and I’m honored that you took the time to write to me. You mentioned a couple of issues in your e-mail that I want to make clear, and then I’ll answer each one.

1. This secret was not about anything related to abuse.

2. You feel that even though your friend doesn’t see what she did as gossiping, it is still gossip because she shared your secret with someone else.

3. You still love her as a friend and want to spend time with her, but you don’t trust her right now and are fearful that you might not ever be able to trust her again.

Well, I’m glad that you’re not being abused, but I want to mention something related to when it’s OK and not OK to keep secrets for others. It’s never OK to keep secrets for others if you either know or suspect that someone is thinking about hurting themselves, is thinking about hurting others, is being abused or neglected in any way, is about to commit any crime, or knows of a crime that’s been committed. In these cases, please tell a trusted adult immediately. Don’t wait until it’s too late. Chances are that that person may be angry at you, but I’d rather they be alive and safe and angry at you, than in danger or dead.

Now, to discuss the issue of gossip. To answer your second question, I agree with you. It is possible to gossip and spread rumors about somebody—even if they are true. The truth told to the wrong person in a wrong way with the wrong motives is definitely gossip. The Bible does have a lot to say about gossip. Here is a sampling of some of the most direct scriptures:

Leviticus 19:16—“Do not go about spreading slander among your people. Do not do anything that endangers your neighbor’s life. I am the Lord.”¹

Proverbs 11:13—“A gossip betrays a confidence, but a trustworthy person keeps a secret.”

Romans 1:29—“They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. They are gossips.”

First Timothy 5:13—“Besides, they get into the habit of being idle and going about from house to house. And not only do they become idlers, but also busybodies who talk nonsense, saying things they ought not to.”

Proverbs 18:8—“The words of a gossip are like choice morsels; they go down to the inmost parts.”

Proverbs 26:20—“Without wood a fire goes out; without a gossip a quarrel dies down.”

Ephesians 4:29—“Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.”

Now, how do you interact with your friend? It’s clear that you don’t feel as though you can trust her right now, and I can certainly see why. Right now your feelings are bruised, and it’s certainly easy to say things in the heat of an argument that you don’t mean. If you’ve known this friend since elementary school and now you’re both in high school, and to the best of your knowledge she’s never done this before, I’d say she’s more than a good friend—she’s a great friend. I know you probably don’t want to hear this right now, but likely you’ll grow to trust her again. I know this’ll sound cheesy and your parents have probably told you this many times before, but if you give it time, your emotional wounds will heal.

God definitely wants you to forgive her and extend grace to her. However, with that being said, you don’t need to rush right into a full-fledged relationship with her. It’s clear that she has disrespected your boundaries and you need to communicate your feelings to her. I’m concerned that your friend didn’t seem truly apologetic for the hurt she caused you, but remember, she was being busted and was probably being somewhat defensive. I’m not making excuses for how she reacted; I just think it’s important for you to step back and try to see things from her perspective. No one likes to be called a “gossip” or a “backstabber.” Also, I think it’s important to try to figure out what her motive for telling your secret was. Was she purposely trying to be hurtful or get back at you for some perceived wrong that you did to her? Was it a prayer request gone wrong?

It may also be helpful for you to first speak with a trusted adult about this issue, possibly a pastor, a teacher, or a Christian counselor to help you sort out all your feelings. In the meantime, I would inform your friend that you want to talk to her, but you are still very hurt by her actions and you need some time (I wouldn’t wait more than several days) to think things through because you don’t want to say something to her in anger. After several days have passed, speak with her. Being that this is such a sensitive topic, the emotional fallout was so great, and you value her friendship, you may want to consider asking another person to be present as you talk with your friend. I know this sounds like a lot, but I want you to keep in mind three important things:

• The golden rule: “So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets” (Matthew 7:12).

• If you’ve got an awesome friend, protect the friendship. “Some friends don’t help, but a true friend is closer than your own family” (Proverbs 18:24, CEV).²

• Jesus accepted us and forgave us first, even though we didn’t deserve it. “No one is really willing to die for an honest person, though someone might be willing to die for a truly good person. But God showed how much he loved us by having Christ die for us, even though we were sinful” (Romans 5:7, 8, CEV).

“Confused and Hurt,” I hope this information is helpful in getting you through the confusing and frustrating maze that is adolescence. Please write me back soon and let me know how things went with this situation. Everybody here at Insight will be praying for you.

Until next time, remember these things: God’s way is always the best way. Life is full of decisions, so make yours good ones. Put God first in your life, and you can’t go wrong.

Feel free to contact me: you can e-mail me at omarmiranda@earthlink.net; or you can keep up with me on Facebook; or you can read more of my stuff on Miranda Writes, at www.insightmagazine.org; or you can check me out or send me a message at my Web site, thriveatlife.org; or you can reach me via snail mail (slow!) at the address printed below.

In Christ,
Omar Miranda, certified Christian counselor

Abundant Life Ministries
155 Earl Street
Plainville, GA 30733
Phone: 1-770-354-2912

¹Unless otherwise indicated, Scripture quotations in this article are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
²Scripture quotations identified CEV are taken from the Contemporary English Version. Copyright ©  American Bible Society 1991, 1995. Used by permission.

Omar Miranda is a Christian counselor with 20 years’ experience working with youth in public and private middle and high schools. He’s married and has two kids. He enjoys teaching the youth at his church, reading, writing, gardening, and camping. He’s a recovering knucklehead who spent a lot of time in the past doing stupid stuff away from God. He’s been back with God for years now and is eager to share what he’s learned from his experiences by answering any questions you may have about life, the Christian life, Jesus, spiritual matters, and relationships in his column, Miranda Writes.



 





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