Gossip and Forgiveness

Posted on 04.10.2012

Have you ever felt like you wanted to go back in time and apologize to someone for things you may have said in the past?  I have.  As we go through life, we make mistakes with people—family, friends and even acquaintances—and we can sometimes wound others and not even know it by what we say.  Making mistakes is part of the human condition: we are fallible.  That’s just the way it is.

I am at a place in my life where I want to clear my record.  Now, I am not aware of any current conflicts or rifts that I have with others at this time, but I have recently observed a few things about my own behavior that needs a little “tweaking.” For example, I got upset with a family member about something he did that hurt my feelings. I would honestly say that I do not walk around getting offended by people too easily.  In fact, I purposely try to not be offended by others.  At any rate, my feelings were hurt so much so that I called a confidante of mind and “vented” with her about it.  The very next day, I felt silly for being upset about it. It all felt so very unnecessary!  I realized that I had been “on call” and had not slept for more over twenty-four hours.  I reacted poorly to the situation due to a lack of sleep!  After getting sleep, the next day I realized that this family member really didn’t know any better and did not have the capacity to be aware of what he did.  I totally let it go.  I gave grace that day, when the day before, I had not grace to give because I was tired.  I, further, felt silly because I spent time talking about that family member with someone. I do not like gossip, but that was what I engaged in.

I’ve always claimed that if I had anything to say about someone, I should “say it to his or her face” instead of taking it to a third party.  To me, talking about people is unethical.  In fact, all of these years, I would say that I am not a gossip, but in reality, I have gossiped any time I have confided to someone regarding my relationship with someone else. I do not like that. I feel embarrassed by it. I am sorry for it.

So, I am making a change for the rest of my days: I’ve decided that I will not discuss anything about anyone with anyone else.  Not even family members. I have a group of close friends, and for the most part, I do not discuss anything about anyone with any one of them. Oh, but I did once, when I had a problem.  I even regret that.

You may think all of this is silly, but I do not.  You know why?  In order to keep peace and maintain healthy relationships, it is better to keep my mouth shut.  I do not need to tell even family members how I feel about other family members. Proverbs 17:9 says,  “He who covers over an offense promotes love, but whoever repeats the matter separates close friends.”  I must remember that I represent Christ.  Further, I have enough issues of my own to work on.  I am to pray and ask God to bless my relationships.

During Easter dinner, in declaration of my new mindset, I told my sister and my niece that I wanted to ask for forgiveness for anything I may have ever done or said to them:  My niece laughed affirmatively said she had nothing on my record!  My sister looked at me calmly and definitively and said, “Ok,” signifying that all was clear and clean with her.  That was easy.  Wow.  In that moment, I felt thankfully renewed, free, and forgiven.