Don’t Fill In the Blanks
Sometimes when I hear a story it starts off so great, but then I realize this story is heading down the wrong path. It ends up being turning in to gossip. One of my daughters is going through the great saga of learning to distinguish gossip from normal conversation. She says it’s hard to figure out what is what but also hard to get away from it. I have had many conversations with my daughter and I basically had to tell her this:
When someone talks poorly of someone else, it’s because they are trying to make themselves look better.
Honestly, think about it. When you hear someone else gossip, talking poorly about someone else, don’t you immediately think more negative about that person? I do. So what does that do to the person who is saying it? It makes them feel better because they just put down someone else lower than them, and made them selves higher than them. This gossip thing can destroy the closest of friends and prevent others from being yours. Most women can say, I am guilty of some form of gossip. But I want to share something with you, have you ever done it in the name of prayer?
I am going to be real for a moment and share something that has been on my heart.
I have seen too many times when people ask for prayer while giving too many private details, all in the name of knowing how to pray. When someone wrongs you, are you guilty of giving too many details to other friends so they can pray for your situation correctly?
Have you ever gotten others to actually join your side thus creating a larger divide between fiends? “A talebearer reveals secrets, but he who is of a faithful spirit conceals a matter.” (Proverbs 11:13, NKJ) We need to usher in peace no matter where our feet travel. Telling others about a private situations falls under gossip, no matter if you ask for prayer or not. Would you want it to be done the same way if the tables were turned? Don’t fill in the blanks when asking someone for prayer over a straining friendship. Asking for prayer is a precious gift that shouldn’t be tossed and mixed like a salad. Keep your request simple and keep it about restoration, not about gaining approval for your side of the story.
Does God strike people down with a lightening bolt every time they sin? Of course not, but that is what it can feel like when gossip makes a grand entrance. Lean on God for strength in your everyday peace walk and not solely on others. Our good or poor witness will precede and follow us.
There are times when I don’t know how to pray and I ask others to pray with me or for me. I was guilty of filling in the blanks in times past which I was convicted in my heart of. I make it my ambition to leave out as much as possible when asking for prayer. We shouldn’t fill in the blanks, God already knows. I have seen how the details can hinder future relationships with even those who I asked for prayer help. “A friend loves at all times.” (Proverbs 17:17) This would mean even in those times of division and strife, a true friend will still want to make things right.
Our relationships are precious, especially with those who share the faith. Satan wants those friendships stressed and destroyed more than we know. He will try to attack our relationships at all heights and depths. He is the father of lies and divisions and has come to kill, steal and destroy (John 10:10). You better believe he wants to destroy our Christian friendships. Pray for God to strengthen your current relationships, restore those friendships that are broken and to help create new precious ones.
What are you most proud of with your social witness? What are you most ashamed of?
Are you willing to make a vow to try with all your heart to NOT gossip in any way, shape or form? If so, write this commitment out, share it with another to make you accountable or tell God to remind you of it and convict your heart when it happens.