I started doing this Faithful Friday series as a way to share not just the good parts of my spiritual life but also the parts that I struggle with the most.
I would have to say that this week’s scripture is one I struggle with a lot—gossip.
And it’s not because I’m a gossiper, I really would prefer to do pretty much anything else but sit and talk about other people’s problems (although I won’t lie I do occasionally fall victim to the gossip train when I’m really angry or frustrated…I’m certainly not perfect). It’s because I totally lack the gumption to call out other people when they start gossiping, making me guilty by association.
If gossip starts up in a group of people I don’t know or I’m not close to, I just politely find a way to excuse myself from the conversation. Either I won’t participate or I’ll start a side conversation.
But when gossip starts with the people closest to me, I totally clam up. I don’t want to be rude and ignore them. On the other hand, I find it infinitely more difficult to change the topic of the conversation with the people I’m closest to. Every method I’ve seen seems too impersonal and in some cases even kind of rude. I’m certainly not trying to fight fire with fire.
So in my attempts not to offend the person starting the gossip, I often find myself peripherally participating in it, which at the time feels right because I don’t want to be rude but later on I always regret it. Unfortunately, my instantaneous need for approval and love overrides the longstanding guilt I have about engaging in something that I know is downright wrong.
My struggle with gossip is exceedingly more difficult for me because I’m highly conflict avoidant. I never want to be accused of starting trouble or rocking the boat in a bad way. But in this case, not rocking the boat has caused me to engage in something that’s equally as bad.
I still haven’t figured out a solution to this one besides just keeping my mouth shut—which works occasionally but I still feel bad even listening to it.
Every time it happens, I pray to God that he will show me the way to navigate through the gossip without offending anyone and with the ability to keep my head held high.
Have any of you figured out a good strategy to avoid gossip?