bad talk

Lemme start out by saying this:
I bad talk.
Well, everyone does. Most everyone anyway.
Bad talk, gossip, back biting, whatever, it's all kind of fun and enjoyable, and all kind of really mean.
Lately, I've been thinking about it a lot. I don't think I'm one to constantly gossip, but I do gossip on occasion. I think most people do too..
The question is...how do I stop?
It's easier to have the mentality of "treat everyone like they are going through their worst trial," and "don't judge a book by a cover," when the "everyone" and the "book" our strangers or acquaintances.
It gets harder to not talk bad about the people we actually know and are close to.
Because then we have the justification of:
I'm not gossiping, I'm just stating facts about people I know.
But you know what? I think that's kind of stupid.
These are rules that I randomly thought of that I think REALLY makes something not gossip.

1. Would I say this to their face?
Most of us say "I'm not saying anything I wouldn't say to their face," but...really? Think about it. Would you say it the same exact way to them in person, as to some other person without them around.Would you really say "Margret, you are a dirt bag that sleeps around and is completely dishonest," to a "friend" or coworker? If so, then back biting might not be your biggest problem... So, would you say it to their face? Would you say EXACTLY the same thing to their face?

2.Is this really my business?
Much too often we think we have a right to talk about someone else because they are our cousin, or close friend, or even sibling, but that isn't always the case. Who someone is dating, or hanging out with, or what someone is doing, may be a concern for you, and if so, tell them and LET IT BE! It is no longer your business. You kind of have to say your peace and let them figure it out. Don't keep talking about it with your friends, don't keep talking about it with your family, just pray for them, talk to them, and let it be. There's no need to add yourself and others into business that you are really unwelcome in. People often are going through things that you don't fully understand, maybe they don't tell you everything. Just use your best judgement to decide if you really need to be talking about their situation. 

3.Is what I'm saying true?
I heard from a guy who heard from a guy is not the best way to get facts and share them as undeniable truths. Heck, even hearing from someone they are really close to doesn't make it at all true. You have to hear it from them. And remember, did they ask you to keep this confidential? Would common sense have you keep this confidential?

And the biggest and most important rule is

4.True or untrue, would what I'm saying hurt them if they could hear this conversation right now?
Everyone needs constructive criticism, but not everyone needs to be hurt in the process. I highly doubt that when we do gossip, we honestly want to hurt someone. And if so, well, that's another topic. Imagine that person right there beside you, how would they feel? How would you feel about their reaction? Is what your saying necessary?

It is certainly not easy to remember all these when talking to a friend about that girl you hate, or that guy you think is dumb, or that person you think is making a bad decision, or even that family member who is doing something wrong, but not gossiping really does make you feel better.

~If you gossip a lot in front of people, frankly, no one wants to be your friend. Not bad talking = more friends.
~Treating people with respect helps you get respect. Not bad talking = respect.
~ Gossiping always finds a way to get back to you in the end. Not bad talking = no sticky/dumb situations.
~Religiously, if we want to become perfect, bad talking has GOT to go! Not bad talking = closer to heaven :)
Not bad talking = happy.
My point is this (even though it may seem like I've had 1,00 points by now): We all want to be happy. The best way to get there is to love. Not bother with silly things that may hurt people, but to fill our lives, our relationships, and our conversations with love. There is NO downside to that.  i guarantee it.

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