Let’s just be blunt and painfully honest. It can be very difficult to pray for someone in a circle of women without stepping into gossip-land. And when we women gather for prayer, others seem to naturally come to mind. Because they are on our hearts, they and their circumstances are often on our lips. Ladies hear my heart here. This should not be.
It was really hard to pick a photo(s) for this blog post. I don’t consider any of my close friends gossips, but I do know that I certainly slip into that category on occasion. I have certainly listened in on my fair share. All innocent yet unnecessary. I don’t think I would know ½ of the community knowledge that I have acquired over the past 13 years in this community without the friends I have made at church. Don’t get me wrong, much of that information is just that, information, but much of it wasn’t. And this same problem shows up in my family gatherings as well. Just catching up on what is going on in other people’s lives. Be careful beloved.
God knows the circumstances that we are praying about. We don’t need to share them or pass them on in any way. Just lift up the name of the person or pray silently for them. I’ve heard it said that if what you have to say isn’t true, and kind, and necessary then don’t say it. I’ve also heard if you aren’t part of the problem or part of the solution then you don’t need to be speaking about the issue. These are pretty good rules to follow.
And on the flip side of this colorful coin, we need to NOT be willing listeners. Make it clear to all those in your circles of influence that you don’t care to hear nor participate in the sharing of information. We certainly can’t control what others say. But within the body of believers, we are called to hold each other accountable. If red flags are going off and you are uncomfortable with the topic being discussed, speak up with love, grace and the truth of God’s word! Then you may need to get up and simply politely remove yourself. You may not be asked to rejoin that group, but that might be best.
They were filled with all manner of unrighteousness, evil, covetousness, malice. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, maliciousness. They are gossips, slanderers, haters of God, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless. Though they know God’s righteous decree that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them. (Romans 1:29-32 ESV)
You see, my experience has taught me that speaking up can be really hard to do. It isn’t always received well. But among our true sisters, it will be. It may sting for a while, but in the end they will thank you for keeping them on the right path.
Another step in my own accountability system is to make sure that the women in my life know that I EXPECT them to hold me accountable for my words and actions. I don’t want to offend God. I need their assistance at times, especially in those realms of life in which I find it difficult to follow Jesus.
Remain humble and teachable. Check your own heart. Listen to your own words. Ask God to reveal it to you and let it injure your own heart when you gossip. He will make it clear to you. When necessary, confront others privately, if possible, with great love and grace. Don’t participate in their sin.
God tells us to “Be holy for I am holy.”
For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age, waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works. (Titus 2:11-14 ESV)
God’s Holy Spirit is what enables us to live righteous and upright lives that bring glory to His great name. Flee from sin. Walk humbly with your God. Be encouraged. Press on!