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How to Avoid Gossip

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We hear that some among you are idle. They are not busy; they are busybodies. - 2 Thessalonians 3:11
We live in a time when anyone can ask anyone a question about anything. The truly sad part is that most people answer. It's disturbing and alarming how much personal information we know about celebrities, neighbors, and co-workers. Really, I don't care whether you wear boxers or briefs. You can go commando if you want, I don't care.

Don't think that Christians are insulated from gossip, either. In fact, many prayer requests are gossip in disguise. "We need to pray for sister so and so that her husband will stop running around on her".

When I was in college, I accidentally received a response that I will never forget. I asked a co-worker a question (I don't even remember the question), but she replied, "I fail to see how that concerns you". Wow! You want to talk about hitting someone between the eyes. I stuttered and stammered backing out of the conversation as quickly as possible. This comment, though, marked me. It's not my right to know everything about everyone. In fact, knowing intimate details about others is often destructive.

It marked me in another way as well. I don't answer every question that is asked of me. Others don't have the right to ask me inappropriate questions, regardless of their position. It is my prerogative what I share about myself not theirs. Furthermore, when I hear that someone said something about me to someone else, I confront them with it.

Gossip is one of the areas that sneaks up on me unless I guard against it and cut it off up front. It often seems like a normal conversation, then, someone says something about someone else (not present, of course). At first, it seems innocent enough. I think that it's an issue that I need to take action on. Before I realize it, the conversation has turned into a dogpile on a co-worker or friend. To make matters worse, I was right there when everything was said. In these situations, it is best to speak up and say that I don't feel comfortable talking about someone when they are not here. If they persist, I leave. (Then, they probably talk about me - Oh, well).

Make it your ambition to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business and to work with your hands, just as we told you, so that your daily life may win the respect of outsiders and so that you will not be dependent on anybody. - 1 Thessalonians 4:11,12
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