I have found there to be times in my life where I seriously need wisdom in regards to a relationship (family, friend, etc). One of these times happened to be today. As I grow in Christ I am learning the importance of guarding my mouth and being so careful with my words. So how am I to effectively relay my problems and seek godly counsel without offending the people involved? How am I to get help without causing hurt?
Here are just a few things that have helped me to successfully “talk behind someone’s back”:
1.) Go to a GODLY person!
I cannot stress this enough. If we genuinely desire to please Christ in our relationships then we cannot go to an ungodly person who we know will only fuel our emotions… whether they be anger, hurt, betrayal, jealousy, or anything else. This is exactly what we want. A person who will be mad with us and tell us how right we are for thinking the way that we do. But this is not what we need. We must go to a person who is full of godly wisdom and bearing the fruits of the Spirit… those same fruits that we desire to see manifest in our own lives.
2.) Don’t name names… generally.
Remember that our main goal in bringing our problems to a godly person is to receive wise counsel. This is NOT our time to vent. Do that with God in prayer. It is with Him that we need to share our deepest emotions for only He can truly understand them (“For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses…” Hebrews 4:15). If it is at all possible to effectively share our burdens and receive advice without naming any specific names then I would definitely advise going that route. I’m sure that there are some cases where names might be mentioned because it is necessary and perhaps even helpful but I would certainly use discretion in this area.
3.) Don’t say anything that cannot be repeated.
This especially applies to those cases in which we are speaking very specifically and names are being used. We should REALLY avoid doing any of that “I’m going to tell you this but don’t tell him/her” business because that gets us into trouble really fast. It is so easy for us to allow our emotions to let loose and as a result we often say things that we really shouldn’t. These things may be true… but that doesn’t matter. We should only speak things that we wouldn’t mind the subject hearing if it just so happened to “get around”.
We ought to be truthful… yes. But even with a godly person it is not always necessary to be completely transparent about our issues with another. Some things are best left in the privacy of prayer. We must be so very careful with our words. It will require much self-control which is never easy… but it is good. The power of life and death are in the tongue.
Never forget that.