Go First Class
It’s been said that we are all products of our environment. If that’s the case then we’d like to pose this question: Do you live in a first-class environment, or a second-rate one? In your little universe do you breathe clean air, or is the atmosphere polluted and filled with toxins? Or put another way, do those you hang out with have positive energy? Are they spiritually supportive, and do they refrain from speaking ill of others? Or are they negative and gossipy?
Manage Your Environment
Consider this: How we think is directly affected by the people we’re around. So the way to manage your environment is to be sure you’re amongst peers who think right.
It’s important to spend your time with people who stand above petty, unimportant things such as gossip. Folks who are more concerned with “what so-and-so said” or “such-and-such that happened” are inclined to be petty. Guard your psychological environment. Are your friends interested in positive things? Do they want to see you and others succeed? Do your friends breathe encouragement and support? If you are constantly around petty thinkers as your close friends, you’ll gradually become a petty thinker yourself. And this applies as much to your on-line friends, those you chat with, as it does to those you live and hang out with.
Of course gossip, as we know, is more than just petty thinking. It’s thought poison. And if you’re at all concerned about keeping your environment clean, then you’ll know there is absolutely nothing eco-friendly about gossip. It is a destructive gas that will erode your world. This is something the Word has made abundantly clear, and if you haven’t gotten the memo on that by now, then we have a problem.
If you haven’t taken a close look at your personal environment in a while, then we suggest you do. Check out what sort of shape it’s in. Don’t live in a poisoned environment. Live a first-class life. Keep your environment free from the thought poison of gossip.
Every restaurateur is on guard against food poisoning. Just a couple of cases of it, and his patrons won’t come near his place. We’ve got laws to protect the public against hundreds of body poisons. We put—or should put—poisons on the top shelves so the kids can’t reach them. We go to any extreme to avoid body poison. And it’s good that we do.
But there’s another type of poison perhaps a little more insidious—thought poison—commonly called “gossip.”
Thought poison is subtle, but it accomplishes “big” things. It reduces the size of our thinking by forcing us to concentrate on petty, unimportant things. It warps and twists our thinking about people because it is based on a distortion of facts, and it creates a guilt feeling in us that shows through when we’re around the person we’ve gossiped about. Thought poison is 0 percent right thinking, and 100 percent wrong thinking. And contrary to lots of opinion, women have no exclusive franchise on gossip. Every day many men, too, live in a partially-poisoned environment.
Conversation is a big part of our psychological environment. Some conversation is healthy. It encourages you. It makes you feel like you’re taking a walk in the warm sunshine of a spring day. Some conversation makes you feel like a winner. But other conversation is more like walking through a poisonous, radioactive cloud. It chokes you. It makes you feel ill. It turns you into a loser.
There are many sides to gossip, but of this you can be sure—all sides of gossip are bad.—Jesus.
Here are a few very good reasons to never again gossip or backstab:
#1. It makes you look really bad.
First of all, it sounds terrible and makes you look really bad. When I hear someone slamming someone behind his back, it says nothing about the person they are referring to, but it does say a great deal about their own need to be judgmental. To me, someone who slams a person behind his back is being two-faced. I doubt very much that a person who gossips to you about someone else would say the same things to that person’s face. To me, that’s a poor example of friendship or integrity.
The Gossip Test: If you want to be sure that you are not gossiping, if you want to safeguard yourself against it, follow this cardinal rule of thumb: Whatever you have to say about another, if you wouldn’t say it in the presence of that person, face-to-face, then don’t say it at all. Then you will know that you are not spreading gossip.—Jesus
To add to this, just because you would say something to a person’s face doesn’t automatically make it right, loving or a constructive thing to say to them. You still need to be careful that your words are honest, spoken in love and with the right intentions—to bless rather than curse, to lift up rather than knock down, to save rather than damn. Let the words of my mouth … be acceptable in Thy sight, O Lord (Psa 19:14).
#2. It’s going to create problems for you.
Aside from being a mean-spirited and unfair thing to do that makes you look bad, it’s important to realize that gossiping creates other problems for you as well. It creates stress, anxiety, and other negative feelings. I know that when I have gossiped in the past, my words have left me with an uncomfortable feeling. I remember asking myself the question, “How could I stoop so low?”
#3. You lose respect in a BIG way.
It’s absolutely predictable that if you gossip about and backstab someone, you will lose the respect and trust of the people you are sharing with. Remember, most of the people you’re sharing with are your friends or colleagues. Even if they appear to enjoy what you are saying, and even if they too are participating in the gossip, there will always be a part of them that knows that you are capable of gossip and backstabbing. They’ve seen it firsthand. It’s inevitable that they will ask themselves the question, “If he will talk behind someone else’s back, wouldn’t he be capable of doing the same thing to me?” What’s more, they know the answer is yes.
Yep, as a Spanish proverb goes: “Whoever gossips to you will gossip about you.” So not only is that “friend” of yours polluting your spiritual and psychological environment, but most likely they’re also trashing someone else’s environment with gossip about you. Not cool.
Come on, people, we can do it. We can sabotage gossip here and now by refusing to let those leaking gas pipes continue polluting our atmosphere. Let’s “go green” and live first-class.
In closing, here’s a final thought from the Lord on what true friendship is built on:
Jesus: Real friendship is built on being honest, on helping each other to do the right things according to the standard, the Word, the basic principles of being a Christian. You can’t just let your friend do anything he wants if you know it’s not right, and if you have the mistaken idea that this is showing him your loyalty as a friend, then your thinking is way off.
Real loyalty is being loyal to what’s right, not who’s right. If you’re not able to stand up for what’s right amongst your friends, then you’re really doing them a disfavor. You’re not being loyal at all because you’re allowing them to be hurt and to go astray; you’re allowing their walk with Me to be hurt; you’re allowing their relationship with others to suffer—all because you don’t have enough sense of true loyalty to your friends to speak up for the truth.
Any professional during the Offensive should be concerned about his environment—making sure it’s clean, safe, unpolluted and toxin-free.Anything less than that will only hinder you from being a first-class, first-rate pro. Your choice.