Hold Your Tongue
April 27, 2017
by Rick Warren
“You will keep your friends if you forgive them, but you will lose your friends if you keep talking about what they did wrong”
(Proverbs 17:9 CEV).
If you don’t have trouble with my first three suggestions for how to deal with those frustrating Extra Grace Required people (EGRs) in your life (look behind their behavior, refuse to be offended, and cut them some slack), the fourth will likely be the toughest.
You must refuse to gossip about them.
When somebody angers you or does something that frustrates you, it’s really tempting to call someone else or send a text and say, “You won’t believe what they just did!” It may feel good to do that. But it’s unloving.
The Bible says we must love people who offend us. Gossiping about them is anything but loving. Proverbs 17:9 says, “You will keep your friends if you forgive them, but you will lose your friends if you keep talking about what they did wrong” (CEV). If you gossip about that other person, you’re just adding fuel to the fire of any frustrations you feel.
What is gossip? One definition of gossip is “sharing information with somebody who is not part of the problem or part of the solution.” The person might not have had anything to do with it, but you bring them into it so you can feel better about yourself.
Let’s just be honest about it. Gossip, in its essence, is a form of retaliation. You’re trying to get back at the person who offended you by talking about them behind their back.
God hates it.
In Romans 1:29, God puts gossip in the same category as murder. Gossip is incredibly destructive. It’s destructive to churches. It is destructive to families. It’s destructive to businesses. And gossip just perpetuates the pain.
That’s why God says we should “encourage one another and build each other up”, looking for “whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable” in others
(1 Thessalonians 5:11 & Philippians 4:8 NIV).
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