Tag: gossip

Roadblocks to Good Communication

Roadblocks to Good Communication

Communication roadblocks can appear in many, many forms, and they seem to reappear in different forms throughout our lives. They can involve fear, lies, gossip, discouragement, exaggeration, nastiness, fighting, and even the total opposite-- the silent treatment. All of these communication issues become roadblocks to us moving forward in our most important relationships. Some are more obvious than others, but all of them need to be dealt with. We can build others up with our words or tear them down. Communication roadblocks need to be resolved quickly.

Once I saw on Pinterest a sign that said, “Before You Speak, THINK.”
Each letter of “think” stands for something. THINK stands for:

Is it True?

Is it Helpful?

Is it Inspiring?

Is it Necessary?

Is it Kind?

Basically, if what we want to say doesn’t meet that criteria, it probably doesn’t need to be said. If we hold our speech to those standards, we would get into far less trouble and experience fewer roadblocks. We would build each other up rather than tear each other down.

Think about it... If something you’re about to say is not true, or you aren’t sure whether it’s true or not, don’t say it. This one is first because this one can sure cause the most harm. There is nothing worse than spreading false information.

If what you’re about to say isn’t helpful, don’t say it. Words that aren’t helpful can be harmful. It could be gossip. It could be a complaint. Complaining is never helpful; offering a solution to a problem while offering to help, however, is helpful.

If what you’re about to say isn’t inspiring, don’t say it. This one goes to whether what you’re about to say will build someone up or tear them down. It’s a big deal because once words are spoken, they cannot be taken back. Most negative things we say don’t need to be said. And even when we have an issue we need to confront someone with, we can say it with love and build them up rather than be nasty.

If what you’re about to say isn’t necessary, don’t say it. Do you really NEED to say it? Are you really the one who needs to say it? Does the other person really need to hear it? If it isn’t necessary, don’t say it. Just because I don’t like your jeans, doesn’t mean it’s necessary for me to tell you. It’s not my job to point out everyone’s misdeed. So if it isn’t necessary, don’t say it.

Lastly, if what you’re about to say isn’t kind, don’t say it. Nasty critiques are not kind. Our speech, even when we’re presenting an issue to someone, can be kind, especially if we pray through it or think it through BEFORE we say it. There are so many things in the heat of the moment that I want to say, but when I pause to consider them I realize they aren’t kind. Making myself feel better by saying them anyway will only make me feel good in the moment. I’ll regret it later, and I might ruin a relationship at the same time.

If you have a communication roadblock, the easiest way to fix it is to utilize emotional control. When our emotions go crazy, we say things we should not. The best thing is to pause before we speak, especially when we’re angry, embarrassed, or caught off-guard. A good statement is, “I’m going to have to consider that and talk to you about it later.” Admit you are upset and need a little time to cool off first. What we say in the heat of the moment usually doesn’t turn out well. We end up looking nasty and immature. Other people become afraid of our reactions. That is especially true in marriage, and with our kids. We could all learn to tame our tongues a little more and use our words for good rather than evil. Print this out and stick it somewhere that it will be helpful for you, like on your bathroom mirror, fridge, or on your desk at the office:


Guess What I Just Heard!?

Guess What I Just Heard!?

Have you ever thought church-going people should be perfect? Or at the very least, they should be more perfect than those who don't attend church? Have you ever felt like the church is full of people who gossip, lie, or cheat? Guess what? You are correct! Christians are not perfect (far from it!), and we are all learning while we are on this earthly journey. Hopefully we can offer each other grace as we all learn to turn from those sins.

A friend of mine was hurt this week by someone at his church. Without getting into details, the hurt was caused in part by gossip. Gossip can be an interesting topic because while we recognize it in its most obvious form, it exists in endless forms that we don't always categorize as gossip. It can be just as destructive though, and the end result is strife. Strife within the church is as deadly as poison.

For example, if I were to come to you and say that "I heard Sally is cheating on her husband", you would have no problem recognizing that as gossip. It may be true, or it may be false, but by me spreading it I am definitely gossiping. We hopefully do our best not to take part in this type of obvious gossip (we all know the Bible tells us not to), but what about the more subtle types?

What if I came to you and said "I'm concerned about Marion's marriage; please pray for her." Is that gossip? Or how about "I'm unhappy with the preacher's last sermon." Is that gossip? Or "I saw Harry at the doctor's office today; I wonder what could be wrong." Or "Bless her heart, she did that thing again." Is that gossip?

Answers to that question may vary. Sure, sometimes when we say certain things they come from a genuine concern. But, truthfully, at other times our motives are not pure. We might be trying to advance our own positions, we might be clinging too hard to our own ministry at the expense of another, or we might be trying to get revenge. Other times, we might just be expressing a negative thought without realizing the far-reaching consequences it might have for someone else.

So here's the deal. Let's not gossip. Let's choose not to be negative. If we don't have something nice to say, let's not say anything at all. Actually, let's take it one step farther... if we don't have something nice to say, FIND SOMETHING NICE TO SAY. There are always positives to point out if we look for them. Any idiot can point out the negatives (and they often do). Ephesians 4:29 tells us, "Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers." Let's be known as "good-finders"!

A key factor in this is to take our issues to an offending person directly. We shouldn't discuss them with anyone who is not directly involved in the situation. I really hate to find out that someone has talked about me behind my back or complained about me without giving me the first chance to rectify the situation. I'm sure others feel the same way. If we respect and love each other as brothers and sisters of faith, we owe each other that much. We should never, ever walk down the hall of the church and hear a negative word spoken about anyone else. Ever. That is not love; it is gossip. We can, and should, do better. And let's be quick to give grace during the times we screw it up.