Heard It Through The Grapevine (ATP)
When is it gossip? When is it just talking about someone? Can we never discuss with anyone, even with our spouse, if it’s not positive?
2 Peter 2:12
But these, like natural brute beasts made to be caught and destroyed, speak evil of the things they do not understand, and will utterly perish in their own corruption
Matthew 5:8 (NKJV)
Blessed are the pure in heart,
For they shall see God.
I really find that most things we have questions about really come down to our heart and our motives. We need to be use to asking ourselves, “Why am I doing or saying what I am?”
My God has given me the most perfect wife I can imagine. One of the biggest blessing of my marriage is having a spouse who, when it matters, general sees thing very similarly to the way I do. We both desire to act and think right and to be spirit led. As such we find when there is a matter of conscience, we are generally in complete agreement, thinking similar thoughts before we even express them. This is because we both desire Truth above all else. I am in covenant with my wife and we both embrace it. What’s mine is hers and vice-versa. This is the most blessed way to have a marriage. I say all that to get to a point, not to rub anything in the face of others. Our marriage takes work. It is work to be right and come to agreement. As such, I withhold nothing from my wife. (Never say anything to me that you absolutely wouldn’t want her to know.) It is not gossip, it’s called covenant. The Holy Ghost is my filter but my wife is my secondary filter. I look to Him but sometimes He answers through her. Covenant means everything.
My first covenant is with God. He is the greatest and highest in my life. Second, is my wife. Our covenant is a reflection and reminder of my covenant with God. My third covenant is with my pastor. My fourth is with my brothers and sisters in Christ. Now, I know what you may be thinking, “What on earth does this have to do with gossip?!?” It’s simple really. In determining what I am to talk about, I must first question, why am I talking about this? Is it for learning purposes, is it to help someone, is it because my conscience is bothered by something, or is it because I just want to talk about someone? Is it because they have annoyed me and I just want to rant about them? The last two things there are gossip and what the Bible refers to as “speaking evil.”
I said so much about covenants because you can easily filter a lot through those. If there is something to talk about, maybe you have a question or don’t understand, go to your first covenant, God. Sometimes God will show me things about someone else because He wants me to pray for them. Sometimes He wants to teach me something, what to do or not do or how to do it better. This isn’t for me to point out others’ mistakes to the world, but to help me better me. Sometimes I still don’t get it. I can be thick headed!
On to covenant two, my precious wife. There are many times where the Holy Spirit speaks to us as we talk things out. We address situations in the world, at church, or about others not to just have conversation but to locate truth. If a discussion is right it does no harm to another. This applies even, and especially in our thoughts! We have gotten to the bottom of a lot of things and made better plans because of the conversations we have had. We even have learned a lot about being more effective listeners of the Holy Spirit.
There are times when I also speak to my Pastor about situations or thoughts. He is my third filter and also someone I am in covenant with. I have learned that the best way to learn is by asking questions and then listening to get the answers. Then of course, we have other believers, our brothers and sisters in Christ. This is the area we must be most careful with, as these instances can easily lead to gossip. It’s best in this area to speak to those you trust and also to those who are capable of understanding. There are a lot of things I know but I also know who I can share them with. Some people just can’t understand. They could turn your good intentions into slander and we need to be careful of this.
All in all, we need to check our motives. Ask yourself, and be very honest, “Why do I seek to talk?” Is it talking to talk or do I really have need of this? As a general rule, if you’re talking to someone who can help in a situation, it is not gossip. I have learned, even when people ask me questions as their pastor, things will be drawn out and the Holy Spirit will give answers I didn’t know. This is a wonderful gift we have that sadly many never utilize.
In any believers life, they need to constantly check their motives. Even righteous endeavors can go sour if they are done in the wrong heart. Check your heart and then check it again and again. Ask God, “Lord are my motives wrong?” If you are open to truth, He will lead you to truth.
I want to end by saying this. If you’re just not sure what to do, humbly ask someone you trust. Their is no wrong in this. Recently, while needing an answer to a tough question I asked a trusted minister, “If I’m wrong for asking this please correct me.” Humility is the key to keeping us straight. I waited for correction if I indeed needed it. Why we ask means everything, and so does why we want to know. Come before the Lord pure and He will bless you with things you didn’t know!