4 Minute Read + Scripture readings
TODAY’S BIBLE READING:
2 Corinthians 7:8-16
TODAY’S BIBLE VERSE(S):
Ecclesiastes 7:21–22 (CSB): “Don’t pay attention to everything people say, or you may hear your servant cursing you, for in your heart you know that many times you yourself have cursed others.”
REFLECTIONS ON TODAY’S BIBLE VERSE(S):
Let’s cut right to the chase. What Solomon said in our Verse for Today wouldn’t even be necessary if gossip didn’t exist. If “servants” didn’t gossip about their “masters,” and vice versa, there would be no need for these two verses.
The fact of the matter is that people do gossip. They do talk badly about others behind their back. They do say bad things to others that they don’t have the compassionate courage to say to the one they are talking about.
So, these verses become necessary.
So, we are instructed not to eavesdrop from around the corner if we hear people gossiping. We are forbidden to listen in on other people’s phone calls. We are forbidden to browse through someone’s emails when they accidentally left their account open on a public computer.
Because we live in a sinful world and we just might realize that others are talking badly about us.
(Helpful Principle: Others don’t talk about us nearly as much as we think they do.)
There is humility in these verses, though. The writer says that we shouldn’t be so quick to condemn others when we hear that they are talking about us behind our backs. Why? Because we have probably done the same thing. We are not innocent, either.
So what is the answer?
When you are talking about someone:
- You need to avoid any words that unnecessarily put someone in a bad light, especially when talking with someone who doesn’t need to know or won’t/can’t do anything constructive with the information.
- Try to say only those things that you wouldn’t be ashamed to say if the person you’re talking about walked into the room during the conversation.
- If the person you were talking about overhears your conversation and is wounded by what they hear, you owe it to them to apologize in person. Just because you might have been speaking the truth doesn’t mean that you are absolved from the negative consequences of speaking that truth.
When others are talking about you or someone else:
- If it is a small thing, let it go. Forget it. Some fires are so small that they quickly burn themselves out.
- If it is an ongoing problem or the words are very destructive in nature, then hold that person accountable for their words. Tell them that what they are doing is wrong and they must stop. Confront them in love and be quick to acknowledge your own failures, but hold them accountable for what they have said or are saying.
- Gossip is such a big deal that if the offender continues in the sin, then pursue the steps found in Matthew 18:15–17.
Gossip is not a small thing and directly undermines the unity that Jesus desires for his church (John 17:20–23). Don’t tolerate it in yourself or in others.