We are uncomfortable with silence. Therefore, we choose to keep conversations going with idle chatter in which one day we will be held accountable.
My team travels around the United States and sometimes does so in a vehicle. We have discovered over the years that can lead to a lot of conversations that are unproductive and unfruitful. We have learned silence is golden. It's OK not to fill our time with discussing situations, but having our focus be on the heavenly Father and gaining perspective in different life situations in which we choose to meditate.
People are uncomfortable with silence. It is not our genuine nature to be quiet. However, it is in those times of silence we keep our souls from sinning and protect our friends from hearing gossip. Did you ever stop to ponder that when you share about a story, a friend or a happening, you are encouraging your friend to gossip because they just heard a juicy story they can't wait to pass on to another?
Let gossip stop at your ears and if you don't have anything edifying to say, simply don't speak at all. Refrain from conversation that is unproductive by staying quiet. Don't participate. Conversations we should refrain from could include who is getting divorced, how your pastor inadequately conveyed his message, or someone who just lost their job. Unless that conversation is going to lead to a time of prayer for that person or situation, you should refrain speaking it from your lips.
"Death and life are in the power of the tongue" (Prov. 18:21). We need to make sure we are speaking life out of our mouths. If it does not edify, encourage and exhort, we should not be speaking it to another person. Often we talk of things to another person and the person is not part of the problem or solution. That is called triangulation, which is getting a third person involved that is not part of the situation.
There are enough harsh words spoken out, gossip that flies around and lies that are spread through miscommunication. We should all do our part to make sure if we hear something we only repeat it if it is going to lead to something positive or encouraging one another.
People are depressed and stressed enough in the world. Why do we have to add to their stress and worry by sharing a story with them that does not affect them? The results are they could feel heavy or burdened for the situation that does not even affect them.
Gossip and idle talk upset and hurt people, destroy churches and have no positive outcomes. Sometimes we don't even realize what gossip is. Gossip is talking to someone about a situation that the person has nothing to do with. It is a time-filler and waster. Can't we think of better things to discuss than another person's problems? What about edifying them with a positive testimony of God's goodness?
Instead of asking someone how they are doing as a customary greeting, try changing it to, "What is God doing in your life?" When we ask someone how they are doing, it can lead to them telling you about a problem you are not involved in or how someone upset them and can lead to gossip as they vent their feelings to you. However, when we ask them what God is doing in their life we just helped them to possibly take a rough situation in their life and for a moment find a glimpse of hope, because they can actually state something great God is doing in their life. You are encouraging positive conversation instead of giving them an opportunity to gossip.
In Psalm 35:28 it says, "My tongue shall speak of your righteousness and of Your praise all the day long." I'm going to challenge you to be bold and when someone start's gossiping to you or they are starting to talk to you about a situation and the Holy Spirit gives you that check ... I want you to say, I don't want to hear it or I feel like we need to close this conversation right now. If you need to be as bold as to say, "This is gossip and I don't want to be a part of it," then do it. Find a way to end the conversation. We have to learn to cut people off, because when you don't you are involved in sin by receiving it and doing nothing about it.
In James 3:6, it talks about the wickedness of our tongue, "And the tongue is a fire, a world in iniquity. The tongue is so set among our members that it defiles the entire body. The Bible speaks clearly about our tongue in 1 Peter 3:10: "For he would love life and see good days let him refrain his tongue from evil and his lips from speaking deceit." In Ephesians 4:31 it says, "Let all bitterness, wrath, anger and clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you."
That type of evil speech includes whispering, backbiting, babbling, tattling and repeating. I love that. It gives us specifics when we study it out! Proverbs 17:9 continues to be full of wisdom and says, "He who covers a transgression seeks love, but he who repeats a matter separates friends."
Let's be love by choosing when to speak and when to be silent. Share this message with your friends in order to end the discomfort of silence, because they will hopefully agree with you, participate and know why you are choosing to be silent!
Kathy DeGraw is the founder of DeGraw Ministries a prophetic healing ministry releasing the love and power of God, igniting people in the prophetic and releasing people from emotional bondage. She travels hosting conferences, teaching schools and evangelistic love tours. Kathy enjoys writing and is the author of several books that educate, empower and equip people, including A Worship Woven Life, Time to Set the Captives Free, and Flesh, Satan or God. Connect with Kathy at degrawministries.org.