Once when I was a teenager and had a friend visiting, my Mom stepped into the doorway of my room and said, “oh, I thought Lindsay was here. I heard you girls talking about her, so I assumed she must have joined you. Otherwise, you were just gossiping, which isn’t nice. So, unless you can say it to her, you don’t need to say it about her.”
Of course, I was embarrassed. But, I learned a valuable lesson from my Mom:
“Older women likewise are meant to be reverent in their behavior, not malicious gossips . . . so that the word of God will not be dishonored.” ~ Titus 2:3-5
Nothing is more harmful to relationships between women than gossip. Gossip is what’s really ugly at Christmas.
Picture a Christmas party. Lots of women, lots of smiling and chatting. Now consider that there may be many pre-believers or new believers in the room. Christmas is a time when our faith is front and center. There are parties and gatherings of all kinds of people. Christmas is one time of year when the door to sharing our faith is wide open.
Now, back to that party ~ remember that every woman has a suitcase full of hurts she carries around with her. The last thing she needs from someone who says they believe in Jesus is the old, familiar gossip. She may think, “what’s the point ~ Christians are just like everyone else.”
If conversations among Christian women sound like gossip, a pre-believer’s skepticism might push out that small, still voice calling her to Christ. A new believer’s trust in a new life with Christ may waver.
Just eight years ago, I was that woman. As I reflected on my time as a new believer, I realized something powerful: I could not recall a single time when I heard my pastor’s wife talk about another person.
I really pushed my mind to rewind the memories because I thought surely I could find a moment where gossip sneaked into our conversation . . . nope. Never.
Her refusal to engage in gossip must be one of the reasons why I connected with her so easily. She began by inviting me to join her for coffee. I felt safe with her. I felt listened to. I felt like she was opening up to me, too. Because our conversations circled around only those present, the conversations were deep and rich.
If you want to try something new this holiday season, try “contact conversation.” Contact conversation means you cannot say something about another person unless you can literally reach out and touch them.
If you are at a Christmas party and something comes to mind about another person and you are about to speak it, picture your hand reaching out and making physical contact with that person. Can’t reach her? Can’t make contact with her? Then don’t say it. Ask the Lord to close your mouth.
Practice “contact conversations” during this holiday party season ~ watch your relationships thrive and notice how beautiful Christmas feels around you.