I am struggling recently with coffee-room gossip. I want so badly to be an example to my coworkers by not “joining in” on talking about others but I find it so hard. My question for you is what is the right way to deal with personality frustrations without gossiping and remaining a good Christian example in the work place?
This is something many struggle with, you are not alone. Most of us have either been a victim or participant at some point in our lives.
Also, you need to give yourself some credit as you have identified you want to be part of the solution rather the problem – this is one step ahead!
The bible speaks clearly to gossip, lies, and whispering:
Proverbs 16:28 A dishonest man spreads strife, and a whisperer separates close friends.
A whisperer separates close friends. Talking about others when they are not around or cannot hear will cause strife in a relationship.
Proverbs 11:13 Whoever goes about slandering reveals secrets, but he who is trustworthy in spirit keeps a thing covered.
He who is trustworthy in the spirit keeps a thing covered; meaning one does not reveal secrets.
Proverbs 26:20-22 For lack of wood the fire goes out, and where there is no whisperer, quarreling ceases. As charcoal to hot embers and wood to fire, so is a quarrelsome man for kindling strife. The words of a whisperer are like delicious morsels; they go down into the inner parts of the body.
Adding wood to a fire; the more one gossips the bigger the problem gets.
Psalms 41:7 All who hate me whisper together about me; they imagine the worst for me.
When gossiping about an individual, assumptions are made. One should never assume.
You obviously have guilt about being part of this, and are frustrated with the way people are behaving. It is important that we do not judge, but in all things try our best to lead by example. This is key in curbing this kind of behavior. Jesus lead by example and we are to follow that example in all that we do. This can be difficult at times, we stumble, but God forgives – He loves us and wants to pick us up.
Philippians 4:9 What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.
Philippians 3:17 Brothers, join in imitating me, and keep your eyes on those who walk according to the example you have in us.
I have struggled with this myself at times, especially when beginning a new job or joining a new group of people. But integrity is core to my value system, and honesty…. In these circumstances, I have assessed the group and if the individuals are open to my opinion, I will be honest with them about the behavior. I have also tried to provide a different perspective – opposite to theirs.
For instance, let me give you an example, one of my friends says, “Look at Sally, the clothes she wears are so dated, and her hair….” I would then respond and say, “What if Sally doesn’t have the money to adjust her wardrobe or hair? What if her money goes to charity instead of the clothing she wears? We do not know her circumstance so should not judge.”
God does not want us to conform to this behavior; He wants us to rise above. Rise above and lead by example.
While this works for me, it may not work for you or others that are uncomfortable with challenging the perception. I have a few other suggestions that may help:
- Remove yourself from the group that is gossiping.
- Adjust the topic to something else.
- If you have been a victim of this behavior in the past, provide your perspective to the group that is gossiping on how you felt about the situation.
- Finally, and most importantly, if you have fallen into this habit or are finding difficulty with the situation, pray and ask God for guidance. He will direct your paths.
Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.
Lexi, we lead through our actions. It is so amazing when we take a leap of faith and step out of our comfort zone. It has ripple effects, like a drop in the water.
Dear Lord God,
I ask that Your voice is what others hear when engaging in conversation. I ask that You lead individuals down the right path when interacting with others. I pray that you give individuals like Lexi the strength to rise above. We know that through our actions others will follow, I pray that our actions exemplify You in all things. I pray for this in Jesus’ Name Amen.
Blessings to you beautiful lady,
If you have a question for Vanessa please email her at firstname.lastname@example.org
You can also visit her personal blog page at www.nesschesters.wordpress.com