4. The Oversharing Ambush
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“Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.” (Ephesians 4:29)
When you’re sitting at home and posting away on your social media account, it’s easy to slip into the ambush awaiting those who overshare personal details about themselves or others online. While you may think you’re just getting things off your chest, your online “friends” may be salivating at the new intel you’re giving them to use against you in the form of gossip. Or perhaps you are that person waiting to read a “juicy” tidbit to then repeat and pick apart at the poster’s expense.
You don’t have to be religious to know that gossip is divisive and often based on exaggerations or flat-out lies. Gossip has the power to knock down everything in its path, from relationships to reputations, including that of the gossiper. Moreover, at its root, gossip tends to have more to do with the shortcomings of the person gossiping than with those of the person being gossiped about.
In particular, gossip feeds the ego by making the gossiper feel like he has something interesting or exciting to say about another. Gossip also gives the gossipmonger a sense of power over the subject of his rumors. God tells us plainly that he hates a lying tongue and people who provoke conflict (Proverbs 6:16). As if that isn’t reason enough to cut gossip out of your life, consider that gossiping always ends up heaping more dirt on the gossiper than on the person being blabbed about. Simply put, maintain your trustworthiness and dignity when sharing or reading personal information online, and find a way to side-step any gossipy conversations that others may try to rope you into.
Prayer to Steer Clear of Gossip’s Grip
Father Almighty, you have given me a spirit of power, love, and self-discipline. I dishonor those blessings each time I give in to petty jealousies or take part in slanderous talk. That’s not the person I want to be, and it’s certainly not the person you formed me to be. Oh, most high God, strengthen my resolve to use my words to build up others and spread Your peace. All glory to You, Lord. Amen.
Social media has changed the way we communicate, giving people an unprecedented platform to influence one another. What hasn’t changed is God’s expectations of us as followers of Christ, whether we’re offline or on. Remember this the next time you log onto your social media account(s) and are tempted to be anything other than an ambassador for our Lord, Jesus Christ.
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