Gossip tempts me. I don’t know why, but it does. I’ve wondered many times how to stop gossiping or listening to others gossip, but until I turned to God for the answer, it only eluded me.
The Lord has opened my eyes to the fact that when something “slips out” out of my mouth, it’s because in that moment I’m choosing to indulge myself rather than choose Him. I’m choosing to gossip rather than choosing to love like Him.
There have been times when I thought, No, I’m not going to say that. And when the conversation escalated, I said it. And while saying it, thought, I can’t believe I’m saying this right now.
We can’t trust ourselves, really. As Jesus said, the spirit is willing, but the body is weak (Matt 26:41).
Now let’s stop there for a minute, because up until this point you’ve been reading a post I started writing three years ago.
A post I never finished, thankfully, because it gave me time to grow spiritually and see God make a major change in my life.
As I’ve matured in my walk with the Lord, I’ve experienced less desire to gossip or even hear it. Not that there is no temptation, but when gossip gets underway it sets off alarms in my head and heart. It feels distasteful.
That transition didn’t happen overnight, but it started with a desire for change.
Are you struggling with any of these 8 types of gossip?
Want to Stop Gossiping? Here are Some Places to Start…
Jesus said: “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened” (Matt 7:7-8).
I don’t have a magic formula that will keep you or me from ever gossiping again (we are human beings who fall short). But the more I love Christ and seek Him, the less desire I have to gossip. The more we grow in Him, the less of an appetite we have for what’s bad for us. If you’re struggling with gossip, instead of focusing on the problem, focus on God. See what can happen in your life!
1. Tell God about the problem you’re having.
“Since I am afflicted and needy, let the Lord be mindful of me. You are my help and my deliverer; do not delay, O my God” (Psalm 40:17).
Bringing our truth to the Lord turns us toward Him rather than the problem. The Bible says to cast all our anxiety on him because he cares for us (1 Peter 5:7). Psalm 145:18 says, “The Lord is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth.”
2. Seek His forgiveness.
“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9).
Once we bring the truth to God, we are standing at the threshold, vulnerable, open-hearted. We feel sorry. And if we don’t “feel” it but know we are in the wrong, repenting can lead us toward the feeling. Repenting of the gossip opens us to God’s healing hand. If there’s something burdening your heart, here are some ways to “come clean.”
3. Ask the Lord to remove the desire for gossip. Pray for His Spirit.
“Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me” (Psalm 51:10).
This one was a biggie for me. I was sorry when I gossiped. I felt a heart of repentance, but did I really want to give it up forever? Did I really want God to take it away? Wow… to come to that place. I didn’t realize how much power I was giving it until that moment.
4. Put it into practice. The not-so-fun-and-sometimes-awkward-but-rewarding part…
“Whoever keeps his mouth and his tongue keeps himself out of trouble” (Proverbs 21:23).
There will arise the opportunity to gossip. We have a choice to make. We know God will help us. Go by faith. Trust Him. I’ve noticed that when I don’t participate in gossip I feel good. Free. I don’t look back thinking, I wish I would’ve said that. Instead it’s quite the opposite: I’m so glad I didn’t say that.
Thank the Lord for the changes.
“The LORD is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and he helps me. My heart leaps for joy, and with my song I praise him” (Psalm 28:7).
It’s good to give thanks. When Jesus healed the 10 lepers, only one returned to give thanks. Jesus said, “Rise and go; your faith has made you well” (Luke 17:19).
It has been prayed, written and recorded many times in the Bible: “Set a guard over my mouth, O LORD; keep watch over the door of my lips” (Psalm 141:3). So when we want to see change, we know where to go. The answer is found in the Lord. We can do all things through him who strengthens us (Philippians 4:13).