Godly Talk or Gossip?
By Melanie Chitwood

“Tell the older women to behave as those who love the Lord should. They must not gossip about others or be slaves of wine. They must teach what is proper.” Titus 2:3 (CEV)

Have you ever said words such as: “I’m just telling you this so you will pray for her,” or “I’m really not supposed to share this; just don’t tell anyone else.” Truthfully, I’ve been guilty of trying to hide gossip with words like this, but God has really been convicting me lately about my words. Specifically, God is challenging me to speak godly words. Now that this subject of godly words is on my heart, it seems that God is bringing verses and life-lessons about this topic wherever I turn.

As I drove home from Bible study, I realized that God had used my friend Debbie that night to deliver one of those life-lessons about godly words. Out of all the discussions that night, Debbie’s words were the ones that stayed with me. Her words had pointed me to a deeper understanding of God, so much so that I wrote them in my journal and even shared them with another friend.

Over the ten years I’ve know her, I’ve learned many lessons about godly words from Debbie. First, I’ve never heard her gossip about another woman. The definition of gossip is “idle talk; rumor; talk of a personal, sensational, or intimate nature.” In Titus 2:3 we women are instructed not to be “malicious gossips.” God knew that we women might struggle with our words. Debbie has never even hinted at gossiping about another woman. That’s an amazing track record.

The second lesson about godly words from Debbie has been the way she talks about her husband and her marriage. We’ve had many honest conversations about our marital challenges. Once again, Debbie has never gossiped about her husband. Even at times when she’s been angry or frustrated with her husband, she doesn’t berate him or share details that would embarrass him.

Finally, one of the keys to Debbie’s godly words is in the amount she speaks. She is neither overly quiet nor overly talkative. The words she says are wise and point me to God. Her example in the amount she speaks teaches me to ask myself: Do I really need to say anything in this situation, or do I just want to hear myself talk?

I’m very much a work-in-progress in this area of godly talk. I’ve spent plenty of time lately confessing the sin of my ungodly talk, and I’m thankful for my heavenly Father who doesn’t give up on me but calls me to His standards. I’ll end with two things that are really helping me in this area. I have a friend who is also working on this and we hold each other accountable. And I have a question that I’m trying to use as a guideline for godly talk: Are my words going to lead to gossip or to God?

Dear Lord, You know what’s in my heart and You know that godly talk is something that’s challenging to me. Lord, I want to honor You with my words. I want to be a woman who can be trusted by others not to harm them, and I want to be trusted by You, Lord, to speak only what honors You. Make me aware of situations or people who might tempt me to gossip, and give me the strength to avoid these situations. Lord, if I sin with my words, convict me, cause me to repent, and to have a change of heart, a heart that wants what You want. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Related Resources:
30 Days to Taming Your Tongue by Deborah Smith Pegues

The Power of a Woman’s Words by Sharon Jaynes

What a Husband Needs from His Wife by Melanie Chitwood

Do You Know Him?

Application Steps:
Read through Proverbs chapters 6,10, and 13. Write down any guidelines you learn for godly talk.

Ask a trusted friend to hold you accountable to speak in a godly way.

Ask God to make you more aware of your talking.

Do I listen more or talk more?

Are my words going to lead to gossip or to God?

Are there situations or other people who tempt me to gossip? Can I avoid them?

Power Verses:
Proverbs 6:16, 19, “There are six things which the Lord hates … a false witness who utters lies, and one who spreads strife among brothers.” (NAS)

Proverbs 13:3, “Careful words make for a careful life; careless talk may ruin everything.” (Message)

© 2008 by Melanie Chitwood. All rights reserved.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

thank you. cant tell you how much i needed that this morning. God spoke to me last night about words that i said yesterday that i wish i could take back. however, they are already out there. forgive me LORD. may i fast this day (and every day) from ungodly and "gossipy" talk. may we all speak to one another with psalms, hymns, and praises.may our mouths be filled with His words. amen

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I really need God's hand to cover my mouth somedays. My husband says i speak without thinking most of the time he's probably right.He's had to pull me out of alot of bad situtions becaue of my words. I pray for God to stop my gossip talk and replace it with peace,praise, and wisdom. Why is this so hard for women? What a great devotion today I'm ready to be accountable for my words.What a great God we have that dosen't say one two three strikes your OUT! but instead is forgiving and will never ever leave us. Today I will have thanksgiving in my heart for it is a new day and a fresh start to leave the Goosip behind and love our neighbor with joy, praises, and encouragement. Thank you for letting me be a part of this message

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Our words carry so much power...to curse, to bless, to uplift, to destroy. The book, The Power of a Woman's Words ministered to me. I read it twice and need to read it again. It reminds me to guard my tongue and use it to bless others. Thank you for this wonderful devotional. I need the reminder and I daily ask God to help me in this area with gentle and sometimes not so gentle reminders from the Holy Spirit. God is so good and I want others to see Him in me.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you for the reminder. Lately, I've been wondering, if my words have led someone to gossip about me in my church. I hope it is not the case, but it does remind me, to choose carefully, the words.
I like the author's quote: 'does my words lead to gossip or to God'. Definitely, a phrase to remember and abide by.

Blogger Shane said...

Amen Melanie. Boy, I need a Debbie around me. But, you, Melanie, have impressed upon me the heart of Jesus, even though we've had so little contact. And I think that's what a great woman of faith is all about. So, thanks for sharing your life lessons along the way.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

hello sweet friends - thank you so much for leaving your comments here. we appreciate your interaction so much! Your hearts are beautiful as I see you so desiring to do what pleases Him. May that always be our hearts' desire. I think i'll keep writing about this topic as God continues to teach me! blessings - melanie

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you for giving such an inspirational expose about words. I struggle in this area and even find myself masking gossip with godly talk. Thank you Lord for using this an an oppotunity for me to confess my ways and start again.
May this been an inspirational to many other women.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Positive talk is what we as christians need to live and learn. We must must close the door to anything negative. We must not give the devil any room to operate in our lives. Words have life and power. If we choose the right words, we can talk the way God intended for us to talk. Life and death are in the power of the tongue. Are we going to speak life about another person are death and curses? Remember you reap whatever you sow. My advice to you is to see everyone as OUR LORD AND SAVIOR would see us. For God is love. So next time we decide to gossip think about how special you are and how special the person you are talking about is to God. Do not judge. We do not have the final say on how someone's life will end up.If it does not concern you do not get involved in gossip. Whenever you hear gossip RUN as far away as posisible.

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