How do I replace gossip in my life?

In the last few posts, we looked at why we gossip and the results of gossip in our lives.   Gossip is a sin (Rom. 1:28-32), but what are we to do with it?  Is there any hope to not gossip?

Ephesians 4:22-24 tells us to Put off Sinful habits, Think Differently about that sin, and Put of Righteous habits.  These 5 applications/questions below can help you to think rightly about gossip and what to “put on” instead of gossip. 

Gossip is a poison, it is addicting, but we shouldn't seek to just stop gossiping, but replace it with redeeming words that build up!

This list is taken from a message delivered by Pastor David Whiting.  The link to the full message can be found here: Gossip: The Acceptable Christian Addiction

1. Pray daily for God’s help not to gossip

Set a guard over my mouth, Lord;
    keep watch over the door of my lips.
Psalm 141:3
May these words of my mouth and this meditation of my heart
    be pleasing in your sight,
    Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer.
Psalm 19:14

Ask yourself When can you take time to pray about your speech.  A great suggestion would be to start your day with them.  Another way to help you apply these verses it to write them down and place them in a spot where you can see them often.  This will remind you to pray about Gossip and that you need God's help.  You could also memorize these verses so you have them with you in your moment of need.

2. Pray for those you tend to Gossip about

Think of a specific person you tend to gossip about.  What are the situations where you tend to gossip about them?  How can you pray for them?  When you do this, you take your eyes off of yourself and making yourself feel better, and put your eyes on them.  You might see something from a different perspective. Instead of gossiping about them, which is using them and their situation to make yourself feel better, you might see what Jesus sees, their need, and seek to care for it. 

3. Before talking about anyone, ask these three gossip filter questions

  • Is this True?
  • Is this Necessary?
  • Is this Kind?
Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.
Ephesians 4:29-30

You've probably heard it said, "If you don't have anything nice to say, don't say it all."  That is a true statement.  Our words should build others up instead of tearing them down.  We should share words that will benefit them.  Often, we will share details and say things that make ourselves look better, but instead of doing that, stop and think, is this going to benefit the other person.  If not, then don't say it. Instead, replace those words with something that will help the other person, something that they need.  With your words, help them to see God and how good he is and how much you care for them.  

When you don't do this, you grieve God who seals you.  We belong to God and the Holy Spirit is our guarentee that we will be with God in heaven forever.  The Holy spirt is there to make us more like Jesus and he never leaves. When we gossip, the Holy Spirit's work is being ignored and we in essence make the God who loves and cares for us, who paid for us with the life of his son, cry.  We have to filter our conversations with those questions. 

4.    Make a choice – Overlook their fault or confront their sin

Hatred stirs up conflict,
    but love covers over all wrongs
Proverbs 10:12
Whoever would foster love covers over an offense,
    but whoever repeats the matter separates close friends.
Prov. 17:9

We can love them and overlook their fault – Especially if the fault is just annoying or if we are not the person to confront them.  The Bible gives us this option, to be gracious and patient with them.  But if you can't overlook it, if their sin is something you have to deal with, then confront them GENTLY.

Brothers and sisters, if someone is caught in a sin, you who live by the Spirit should restore that person gently. But watch yourselves, or you also may be tempted.
Galatians 6:1

5.    Before talking about anyone, ask yourself this question: Is this person part of the problem or the potential solution?

You can say something negative about someone if the person you are talking to can help you fix the problem and think more biblically about the situation.  If you are having a problem with a friend and you talk to a youth leader about how to handle a situation, you can do this in a way that is truthful, necessary (because you are looking for guidance as to how to handle the situation in a God honoring way), and kind (because this will lead to resolving the relationship issues and no one is sharing this information to make themselves look better).  If you don't seek to be all three in your conversations, then you are gossiping, even if you are trying to get help.

For lack of guidance a nation falls,
    but victory is won through many advisers.
Proverbs 11:14

Gossip is a poison, it is addicting, but we shouldn't seek to just stop gossiping, but replace it with redeeming words that build up!