What to Do When People Gossip About You

Friday, January 27, 2023

When people gossip about you, it hurts. Want to be Christlike even when people gossip about you? Here's what to do when people gossip about you.

Everyone has experienced gossip in their lives in one way or another. Whether you are the gossiper (I hope you're not) or the one being gossiped about, gossip affects the lives of pretty much everyone. But how should Christians respond when people gossip about us? We know we want to react in a Christlike way, but what does that look like?

Read more to learn what to do when people gossip about you!

What to Do When People Gossip About You

1. Pray

When you find out that someone has been gossiping about you, it's important to stop and pray to reorient your mind to truth, because in that moment when you've been gossiped about, you likely will feel hurt and angry. It's natural to feel hurt and angry when someone gossips about you, but those feelings will often lead us to sin if we don't submit them to God and ask for help.

Ask God to help you forgive. Ask God to give you wisdom about how to handle the person or situation. Ask God to help you not sin in your anger. Ask God to help you love the person who gossiped about you. It's really hard to do those things when someone has gossiped about you, but God is our helper and we can and should call out to him. We want to live in a way that honors him, and we need his help to do so.

2. Identify Truth vs. Lie

Take a minute to think about what is being said about you. It's not okay that someone gossiped about you, but it is important to recognize whether they are spreading blatant lies about you, or if it's true information that just didn't need to be spread around. 

Likewise, think through whether or not this was actually gossip, or did you just not like your sin being found out. There are times when we can get mad at someone else when really, we just didn't like being called out. Again, this doesn't make gossip right, but we do need to be sure we aren't just embarrassed by our shame.

These are just introspective questions that are more for your personal benefit to help you process what's happening.

3. Do not slander

It's going to be very tempting to slander the person who has been gossiping about you. You may want to gossip about them or make them look bad because they've hurt you, but that is not helpful or Christlike. Be resolved not to take revenge on the one who has hurt you, but to approach them in a way that models Christ

4. Seek the Scriptures

Look for Bible verses that remind you to give grace to others and to treat them with patience. This is another way to focus on truth and on what God calls us to. Ephesians 4:31-32 is a great place to start, but you can easily find more with a google search. 

5. Have a truthful conversation

Being Christlike doesn't necessarily mean never addressing what's going on. If someone is gossiping about you (especially another Christian), it's usually a good idea to talk to them about it. The key, however, is to be calm and kind. Explain that they've hurt you by gossiping about you. If what they said wasn't true, explain that. If it was true, but was private information, explain that to them.

Be honest without being harsh, unkind, or accusatory. Be willing to listen and be ready to forgive. And even if they aren't sorry and don't care, be willing to walk away from the conversation resolved to forgive and let go. 

6. Speak to your elders (if necessary)

If the gossip is causing problems in the body of Christ, or if the person gossiping is a member of your church and they refuse to stop after you've spoken with them, it may be good to talk to your church elders and let them know of the situation. 

A healthy church will seek to help it's members kill sin, and if someone is living in sin and spreading falsehoods, then they are in need of help and/or discipline.

Use discernment in this and make sure you aren't just blowing things out of proportion, but if it's causing major issues in your life or the life of your church, then seek the help of your church leadership (again, in a calm and Christlike manner).

7. Understand your role

At the end of the day, you cannot control what someone else does and says. You can only do your part in the steps above. But if someone is unrepentant, or even continues gossiping, that's on them. It may continue to sting, but as a Christian, you can only speak the truth, ask God to help you forgive, and keep reminding yourself of the truths of God's word, and the truth of who you are in Christ, regardless of what someone else says about you.

I hope this has helped you better know what to do when people gossip about you. I hope that if you find yourself in that situation, that it will be resolved quickly and that the one gossiping will be repentant and that you will let go and forgive quickly. But even if your heart is struggling, I hope these tips will help you through the situation. 

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