Who has never gossiped? Whether we want to admit it or not, we have all talked about other people at least once in our life. It is a way of interacting with others, entertaining them, and also sharing information. But gossip becomes harmful when it is used as a sort of weapon to bully someone, to ruin his/her reputation and relationship with other persons.
So, what can you do if you are the target of hurtful gossip?
1. First, realize that this is not about you. These persons are speaking out of their negative feelings. Luke 6:45 (NLT) says, “A good person produces good things from the treasury of a good heart, and an evil person produces evil things from the treasury of an evil heart. What you say flows from what is in your heart.” So, these gossipers may be dissatisfied with themselves, with their lives, and may need to talk badly about you just to feel better or superior.
2. Know that you are beautifully and wonderfully created by God. (Psalms 139:14). You may feel judged and rejected, but remember that God loves you as you are, with your imperfections, and His love is unfailing (Psalms 36:7).
3. Confide in God and trust Him. He sees, He hears, and He knows what you are going through. You can tell Him all about your feelings. He understands and cares for you. Ask Him to protect and defend you. He will. God is greater than any human being. He is your shield. Psalms 18:2 (NLT) says, “The Lord is my rock, my fortress, and my savior; my God is my rock, in whom I find protection, He is my shield, the power that saves me, and my place of safety.” Trust that He will bring justice in His time.
4. Pray for the gossipers and bless them. This is easier said than done, I know. You just want to straighten them out. But praying that their hearts be filled with God’s love, joy and peace will help you fight your own negative emotions and guard your heart against bitterness.
5. Set healthy boundaries. This is essential for your own mental and emotional well-being. Accept the fact that these persons are spreading negative judgment about you, and they don’t have your best interest at heart. They are not showing compassion and mercy towards you. Sad as it may be, you can’t force them to love and accept you. So, please have boundaries for your own sake.
6. Focus on your purpose in life. Run your race. Fix your eyes on your goals. Paying too much attention to gossips will only make you feel like a victim and increase the desire to retaliate. It will get you off track and hinder your personal growth.
7. Spend time with people who genuinely love and support you. It will encourage you to stay positive and be yourself.
It is distressing when people gossip about your weaknesses and shortcomings. But you are free to reject their negative words. They don’t define who you are. God does. And trust Him to give you victory.