When Complaining Turns to Gossip
So, let us be real for a moment. I can be a complainer, sometimes if my day hasn’t gone right, I’m complaining. If someone has irritated the heck out of me - you better believe I’ll be complaining. I remember a friend of mine had told me; “Nikkita, it’s okay to feel what you feel. It’s okay to have a bit of a rant but who are you taking that too?”
She checked me. #checkmate.
My friend wanted me to discern, to discover, who is on the receiving end of my rants? Am I picking up my phone and calling a friend to express my frustrations about my day? Which in some cases is fine - our inner circle, the ones we’re intentionally in relationship or friendship with are people who we trust well enough to share our day with. However, if we are taking our rants to everyone but God - that is not okay. The only person who can hold our ‘stuff’ or ‘junk’ is the Lord Almighty.
Matthew 11:28 reminds us of this very thing. “Come to me, all who are weary and burdened and, and I will give you rest.”
Go to the Lord, when your boss is becoming unbearable. Go to the Lord, when your day has felt never-ending. Go to the Lord, when your heart is hurting. Go to the Lord, when you have a to do list of frustrations and tick them off one by one. Go to the Lord, first always because He provides you with rest.
Not only does He provide you with rest but going to the Lord first shields and protects your complaining from turning into gossip.
It can become so easy, to pick up the phone to tell a friend about the person who irritated you at some point throughout the day. You begin to start talking about factual things and how it made you feel. Then somehow by the end of the call you can be talking about your dislikes of the individual, bringing up information that is not yours to share and then you’ve entered the land of gossip.
I struggled with this for such a long time and if I’m being completely transparent there are times, where I’m still struggling. It can be difficult and we can get caught up in the moment of our frustration and that temporary feel of “I’m just expressing myself” or “technically, I’m still speaking about my day” can make us feel like “finally - I got that off my chest.” But it never feels good after.
When I go to the Lord and share with Him my thoughts about an individual or situation - it feels like I’m safe. He can handle it, He’ll guide me through (usually with some convictions, a whole heap of grace and the opportunity for me to forgive & seek forgiveness.), I know when I express myself to the Lord - it doesn’t go anywhere and I most certainly have not changed his opinion of an individual that He loves just as much as me.
This is the beauty of our God. This is the beauty of our Abba. He has so many children and even though we run to Him complaining about His other children. He loves them no less and the loves me the same. I am thankful that my Abba, provides us all with the opportunity to bring our burdens and worries to Him. Our tongues are so powerful we have the ability to build a person up or tear them down and gossip intends for you to change a person’s perception of another. We are called to love our neighbours as ourselves.
If this, like me, is something you have been struggling with or is something you’re currently dealing with here are a few scripture verses to hold on to. Maybe write them on a post it and stick them around your mirror, in your car as a reminder, create a background for phone, whatever it might be I pray these help you on your journey.
Verses to help:
Ephesians 4:29 - Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear. (ESV)
Leviticus 19:16 - You shall not go around as a slanderer among your people, and you shall not stand up against the life of your neighbour: I am the LORD. (ESV)
Proverbs 10:18 - The one who conceals hatred has lying lips, and whoever utters slander is a fool. (ESV)
Proverbs 11:9 - With his mouth the godless man would destroy his neighbour, but by knowledge the righteous are delivered. (ESV)
Proverbs 11:13 - Whoever goes about slandering reveals secrets, but he who is trustworthy in spirit keeps a thing covered. (ESV)
Proverbs 18:21 - The tongue can bring death or life; those who love to talk will reap the consequences. (NLT)
Proverbs 16:28 - A troublemaker plants seeds of strife; gossip separates the best of friends. (NLT)
Proverbs 20:19 - A gossip goes around telling secrets, so don’t hang around with chatterers. (NLT)
Psalm 141:3 - Set a guard over my mouth, LORD; keep watch over the door of my lips. (NIV)
James 4:11 - Brothers and sisters, do not slander one another. Anyone who speaks against a brother or sister or judges them speaks against the law and judges it.
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