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Thursday, February 28, 2013

Talk to...not about

I'm getting increasingly irritated by people who talk to others about others or what others are doing and/or how what others do affects them. I'm saddened by its proliferation too.
Yes, I know this sounds like a mouthful when you're reading this and that's exactly what it is - a mouthful...of no good.

I cannot understand why such people will not talk directly to the person and "deal" with it - since it bothers them - rather than talk about the person(s) concerned. Indeed I understand that there are some people who do not want to hurt's nice to feel that way. However, talking behind someone's back is worse - it is even more hurtful when it's someone who trusts you. Actually, calling a spade a spade: it's downright wicked. 

I've written about "tea-talk"* previously, not to mention the more recent/common "cooler-chat." Whatever name you call it it's actually gossip and that is a sin. 
The book of Proverbs has quite a bit to say on this:
Proverbs 10: 18b-19 - Anyone who spreads gossip is a fool. The more you talk, the more likely you are to sin. If you are wise, you will keep quiet.**
Proverbs 20:19 - You cannot trust someone who would talk about things told in private. So don’t be friends with someone who talks too much. (Easy-to-Read Version)

Sadly, in Christian circles people deceive themselves and call their "tale-bearing" behaviour "burden-sharing" and in the Corporate world it is sometimes referred to as "Networking." Changing the name of a thing/activity does not change what it is...and we all know when we're doing the wrong thing. If you're so sure that you'd repeat whatever you say behind someone's back in their face so why not skip one step and just say it to their face?

I love Proverbs 27: 5-6 and do my best to live by it:
Better to correct someone openly than to let him think you don't care for him at all. Friends mean well, even when they hurt you. But when an enemy puts his arm around your shoulder—watch out!**

In living by it, I've on occassion been "accused" of lacking tact. I'm usually quick to apologize when it is brought to my notice and still say (to myself of course) that: "I'd rather lack tact than join others to attack you - especially when you're not there."

Proverbs 25: 23 - Gossip brings anger just as surely as the north wind brings rain.**
Proverbs 26: 20 -22 - Where there is no wood, the fire goes out; And where there is no talebearer, strife ceases. As charcoal is to burning coals, and wood to fire, So is a contentious man to kindle strife. The words of a talebearer are like tasty trifles, And they go down into the inmost body.***

Please with all the words that come around you, please make sure you are not "adding wood" to any fire. When it comes to talking about others, be a fire-fighter & life saver by extension. If and when all of us truly care for our neighbours and love them as we love ourselves, we'd talk to people rather than about them. If you must talk about people, talk to God about them. If you're not even sure if/when you should talk to them, ask Him and He'll guide you not just on the "when" but also on the "how" to say the "what" you need to say. When we start to look out for each other for their good, from that point, the world will only get better.

**Good News Translation
***New King James Version

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