Last week I wrote how we can break the negative cycle by entering into Christ's fruit-producing cycle. If I long for love, joy, peace, patience in my family life & my friendships, then (according to John 15) I must:
- Abide in Him by...
- Abiding in His love by...
- Obeying His commands, one of which is...
- Love one another, I can do that by...
- SAYING IT TO HER FACE (instead of behind her back).
My tongue has gotten me into a lot of trouble. In second grade I was punished for making a girl cry because I was whispering about her to a friend...yes, I was a "mean girl". Over the holidays I've frequently created or worsened tensions among family members by talking behind someone's back ("A dishonest man spreads strife, and a whisperer separates close friends." Proverbs 16:28).
Honestly, I didn't want to write this post. I didn't want to be held accountable by friends, family and my online community. However, if I am going to be obedient and experience the fruit of the Spirit in my life, this is one area I need to be held accountable.
WHAT IS THE "SAY IT TO HER FACE" CHALLENGE?
When interacting with others, I want to be aware of my words. Before I speak, I want to consider if it's something I would say to her face. If I couldn't say it to her face and she isn't present, then I should NOT say it.
WHY DOES IT MATTER?
As women we all know gossip is a problem & is wrong. Read Paul's words:
"They are gossips, slanderers, haters of God, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless. Though they know God's righteous decree that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them." (Romans 1:29b-32)
We know it's wrong, yet we still do it & encourage friends to gossip. Look at the other groups mentioned along with "gossips" in this verse: "haters of God", "inventors of evil"...ouch!
Another reason for this challenge is to set a good example for my boys. They are old enough to pay attention & listen when my husband and I talk with each other. Slander and gossip should not be a part of our conversation.
HOW DO YOU PARTICIPATE?
1. Pray each morning for God to "put a guard over your mouth and watch over the door of your lips (Ps 141:3)" and not allow any "unwholesome talk to come out of your mouth (Eph 4:29)."
2. Pray this again before meeting with a friend or attending a social event, spending time with family, etc.
3. Memorize this scripture:
"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." Ephesians 4:29
To memorize this verse I am going to write it on a card & keep it taped to my computer keyboard. I will also make the verse my wallpaper on my phone as a reminder before talking with a friend or family member.
4. When in a conversation don't talk about ANYONE unless they are physically present.
- Even if she is a common friend (if we both know her still not ok to talk about her)
- Even if I am speaking well of her (it's a slippery slope!)
- Even if I am just stating facts
5. Keep her confidence. If someone shares information with me, it is not my job to share it with other people.
- Even if it's exciting news (pregnancy, marriage, job)--> use the line: "That's her news to tell"
- Even if she needs prayer--> only if she wanted me to ask others to pray for her should I share a "prayer request".
- Even if someone asks me a question about a person not present--> I will gently direct them to that person ("You should ask her").
6. Instead of talking about others, ask those I'm talking with these questions:
- What is God teaching you lately?
- What was your highlight/low light this week?
- What specifically can I pray for you?
7. Give myself grace.
I am going to fail in this challenge because I am sinful. Even if I fail & speak about someone who is not in my presence, I am going to give myself grace to try again in the next conversation.
Disclaimer: This is a personal conviction. It is not my intent to preach AT you or assume this is a problem for you. My hope is if you struggle with "gossip", talking about others or keeping confidences, then you would join me in the "Say it to Her Face" challenge.
Will you join me in this challenge?