Gossip is a nasty business. It is certainly not for the faint of heart and is even difficult for those who are strong. Gossip has existed forever – people can’t help but talk about people. And while the initial reaction of gossip is fun, seemingly innocent and even exhilarating for some, it’s consequences are detrimental in the long run.
The minimal effects are merely distrust among friends/ co-workers, or family. The worst case is loss of friendship, being fired, or a family destroyed, and then some. Gossip, even if unintentional has victims and benefits no one.
“Out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks…”
So by this we know that, in general, a persons true character will be revealed. But what about when you speak with innocent intentions and it becomes construed into something it was not intended? How is this resolved? Will addressing the issue make it worse? Will ignoring it?
Repairing the Damaged Relationship:
The best advice to resolve the issue requires humility – something that is a learned action and rarely is inherent. You must go to the person hurt and ask for forgiveness, tell them what was said was not meant to be hurtful or even as gossip, and commit to speaking more carefully in the future.
Without a direct conversation with the person you hurt, this issue will go unresolved. If repairing the relationship and your reputation is important this is the only course of action. If a direct conversation is impossible (the person has passed away or has moved on and cannot be found) then going to those you gossiped with and asking their forgiveness for your actions and speech is necessary. This step should be followed regardless.
Beyond both of those steps, committing to paying better attention to what you say in the future will be key to avoiding this situation.
How to decide what to say:
The best advice, however, is to heed the advice of saying only what is showing love, sharing joy, promoting peace, extending patience and forgiveness, speaking kindness and goodness, being faithful to relationships, being gentle in confrontation and showing self-control with my words and facial expressions. In other words, if I do not have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.