People are talking, and you’re the one they’re talking about. Being the target of gossip can be frustrating, embarrassing, and hurtful.
Proverbs 18:8 says, “The words of a gossip are like choice morsels; they go down to the inmost parts.”
Words hurt. The words of others can leave deep wounds on our hearts, especially when they’ve been shared behind our back. Since we can’t control what others do or say, there’s no way to permanently prevent others from talking about you. But here are five tips straight from God’s Word for how to handle it the next time the rumor mill starts churning out your name.
1. Say nothing.
Proverbs 26:20 says, “Without wood a fire goes out; without a gossip a quarrel dies down.”
Your reaction will either make the gossip continue or die down.
Your reaction will either make the gossip continue or die down. In most cases, it’s best not to rush to defend yourself. Without new news there won’t be much to say. Ask the Lord to help you hold your tongue when others are talking about you.
2. Let your reputation speak for itself.
Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us (1 Peter 2:12).
Establish credibility by living like Jesus calls you to. When others claim that you are doing things you should not, rest in the fact that you live out your faith in a way that makes others take notice.
3. Tell God about your pain.
Don’t perpetuate gossip by talking to others about it. Instead, talk to the One who knows all things and is more than able to keep your confidence and tend to your wounds.
Philippians 4:6 says, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.”
4. Let Him be your defender.
Psalm 10:17–18 says:
You, LORD, hear the desire of the afflicted; you encourage them, and you listen to their cry, defending the fatherless and the oppressed, so that mere earthly mortals will never again strike terror.
Ask God to be your defender, trusting Him to set the record straight in His timing.
Instead of rushing to defend yourself, ask God to be your defender, trusting Him to set the record straight in His timing.
5. Love the one who is doing the talking.
Matthew 5:44 says, “But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.”
Proverbs 25:21–22 says, “If your enemy is hungry, give him food to eat; if he is thirsty, give him water to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head, and the LORD will reward you.”
Words hurt, but God’s Word offers hope in all circumstances.
Instead of lashing out, pray for the source of the gossip. Especially if she isn’t a Christian, pray that the situation would give you an opportunity to be salt and light to her. Instead of gossiping in return, look for opportunities to speak highly of her. If you do, she isn’t likely to talk bad about you in the future and may recognize Christ’s love through you.
The old adage “sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me” couldn’t be further from the truth. Words hurt, but God’s Word offers hope in all circumstances. Trust His advice the next time others are talking about you.