Saturday, January 24, 2009

Gossip? Lets look at the intent!

Posted by Hannah at 9:14 AM

Its Gossip! Do not talk about this! You are dishonoring those you should love!

Here are some definitions of gossip that I found.

1. Rumor or talk of a personal, sensational, or intimate nature.
2. A person who habitually spreads intimate or private rumors or facts.
3. Trivial, chatty talk or writing.
4. A person who habitually reveals personal or sensational facts about others
5 A rumor or report of an intimate nature.

If you have read anything in regards to forms of abuse like Emotional Abuse, Verbal Abuse, Physical Abuse, Sexual Abuse, etc. the biggest killer is silence.

People can't help you if they don't know what is going on.

I have seen time and time again Christians shutting down others by telling them NOT to speak of their spouse, unless they are to edify them.

In one of my last last posts about a song about verbal abuse I spoke of a story towards the end. It was about a lady that had survived an abusive relationship, and she didn't feel she could really speak of it.

The reason that she was refraining was because she said that she had done things in her past that she was not proud of; she described them as terrible and horrible things, and she felt that she simply could not speak ill of anyone else. She said that she had no right...

I think we all have things we may have done that we are NOT proud of. Goodness knows I have some as well. I received a very thoughtful reply, and it truly did make me remember things as well.

I had recently been wondering and praying about the issue of discussing what happened to me and how is that different than mere gossip?

I believe the difference is intent.

Am I using what happened to me to teach others how to handle a situation or comfort others? Or am I relating my experiences in a bitter, hateful, malicious, spiteful, vindictive, retaliatory manner?

I do think the 'intent' part is key.

I remember when I started on my journey of recognizing what indeed was happening in my life. I remember some men and women mentioning things from their past, and how they grew past it. It wasn't meant as bitter, and to show how awful their spouse was. It was to make a point to the other person (me), and almost give them permission to open their eyes. I know I'm not alone in saying I felt like I must be the only one on earth experiencing these things. I just couldn't understand WHAT I was doing to trigger such awful reactions from my spouse. What did I say to make him feel he needed to return it with such venom and contempt! How much more softly and gently was I to approach, and how could I stop this walking on eggshells.

I was very aware of my every move! I questioned everything and anything I did with the intent of 'how is he going react?" On the surface most people would think - that's awesome! You think of HIM before yourself! I'm talking the extreme version, because I did that out of fear not serving. I knew the consequences if I stepped out of line. The intent they saw wasn't my reality at all. I would have LOVED it to be, but I did it because I was afraid of him. I was afraid of what would happen to me if I didn't. Big difference!

One of my first articles was about Debi and Michael Pearl. I feel sorry for Debi and Michael Pearl. One of the first things she mentions in her article is that you need to be sure you are almost PERFECT before praying for relief from an spouse that is cruel. Make sure your ducks are in row, and then PRAY that God takes them. Most people dealing with verbal abuse, physical abuse, and emotional abuse and their faith AREN'T looking for God to kill them! They want the abuse to STOP, so they can have that person back they felt they fell in love with.

She encourages her readers to stay silent:

He will see her giving up her rights and not taking offense when he knows he has wronged her. He will see she honors him, obeys him, treats him with respect, and serves him with a non-rebellious, non-resistant attitude. He will see her spirit is not raging outwardly in emotional fits or inwardly in silent brooding of hurt, but her spirit is quiet, restful, and peaceful. He will see she doesn't puff up and talk incessantly in criticism of him—or others. He trusts her. He knows she is not going to discuss him with her pastor or friend. He sees she is wise with what little money he gives her. She is a remarkable woman, not because she is classy in the way she dresses or looks, but in the way she controls her spirit. She rejoices for an opportunity to bless him, and he knows her heart is good. He tries her; he deliberately tempts her into hurt or anger; he judges her unfairly; he demands things of her that he knows embarrasses her, yet she is in subjection to him in all things. And in the end, she wins him by her chaste conversation. It is a promise from God to you. And God goes on to promise more to this obedient, believing lady.

The Pearls set up this 'happily ever after' if you just take the abuse, and keep it to yourself...and wait on God to take charge you will get your fairy tale marriage.

Luk 8:17 "Whatever is hidden away will be brought out into the open, and whatever is covered up will be found and brought to light.

Joh 12:46 I have come as a light into the world, that whoever believes in me may not remain in the darkness.

I believe that if you keep silent, and allow others to tell you its 'gossip' the cover up will not be found and brought into the light. God knows of course, but people aren't going to understand domestic violence within the church unless its spoke about. How are we to help those that need help if we encourage them to stay silent.

Think of all the testimonies that we hear about how broken people that sinned in all kinds of awful ways, and how their lifes turned around once they came to Christ. Do you think all those people kept silent about the struggles they had on their journey to Christ? Did they not have trusted people in which they could share their struggles and that venom they needed to get out of their system with? If you pick those parties that will give you a soft reply, and accept you but are willing to show your error lovingly - does that NOT show the right intent? Those are the ones you hear about when they speak of their journey in coming to Christ if you listen to them. They will speak of their hills and valleys. Its okay!

Pressure Cooker emotional abuse and faithI went into stage during my growth in which anger took over. The realization of what is happening in my life was clear, and all the stream from the pressure cooker came to the surface and I exploded. I'm NOT going to sit here and tell you that I didn't say some really nasty things about my spouse. I'm not going to say I didn't mention how I would love to see him HURT as well! I would LOVE to tell you how I lovingly placed all those items in a neat little box, and my reaction was more of Melody Wilkes from Gone with the Wind!
Melody WilkesI would be lying, but I would LOVE to say that! LOL! I think at that point of my life if I had SHARED it in group in would more than qualify as gossip! It would have been more of look what happen to me, and join me in the HATE parade! I was lucky that I had friends that accepted that rage within me, and helped me get past it. Place it into prospective so I could grow beyond that point. I don't wish harm or hurt to him anymore. I do wish to tell more about my story so that others can see the light, and move on to healthier aspects of life. Educate those that seem to think keeping silent regarding what I endured isn't healthy either. People speak of their experiences for a purpose, and gossip just isn't the defination!

I respect the women in the story choice of NOT wanting to share her experiences. I remember a time in which I got to after the anger stage in which I couldn't do it either. I saw the error of my own ways, but that didn't MAKE him abuse me. That was his choice. I never returned fire the way he did, because I knew I couldn't live with myself. I can't say I wasn't tempted!

I got food poisoning once, and I was so weak I couldn't get off the bathroom floor. I screamed for him to get me help, and he refused to do that. The next day I was rescued by a family member, and brought to help. I was very lucky I didn't die on the bathroom floor that night. I remember reeling from that experience, and his excuse of saying I wasn't CLEAR enough that I needed help. I was told by Focus Ministries that what I experienced was a form of physical abuse. I never would have put those two things together. His neglect as being physical abuse. I can now use that story as an education tool to show that beating isn't the only form. You don't have to be the burning bed type of women to experience this. My intent now would be education, but in the past it may not have been! I could have used this as a tool to show how awful men are, or how ugly he was, etc. It could have been a tool to keep the bitterness within me. I could have used this as a tool to hurt him with. The truth is MOST men aren't like that, and I know that women could be also that cruel. That bitterness isn't the type of tool I would wish to hold on to. Telling the story in that light wouldn't help in the form of education either. The focus would be more on me, and what is his name - address and phone number so we can hate him also!

Intent IS the difference.

If you have gone to your church or pastor for help, and they told you that you MUST NOT speak of your spouse in that fashion due to gossip - find someone else. Reaching out for help is just what you need. You may also have that anger stage that I spoke about later. To be honest - I think I needed it. That rage would have imploded on me more, and I don't think I could have moved on to where I'm at if not for that experience. I think God used it as a tool to show me its part of the journey, but you don't want to live there. Unlike abusers I had peace once it was released. Some tell me it was rightoues anger. I don't know, but I know it was something that helped me move on. Those safe people helped me keep things in check.

Speaking of the experiences of domestic violence within the church in forms of verbal abuse, physical abuse and emotional abuse and your faith isn't gossip. It could help others move on if you do this with the right intent. I know I won't stay silent ever again.


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Danni on 1:44 PM said...

People who put our stories into the category of gossip appear to be missing the fact that the Bible is full of people's stories.

God is such a gossip! LOL!

-- Danni

Hannah on 2:33 PM said...

Tee hee! No kidding!

Anonymous said...

One very Godly lady I know that uses stories from her past to teach others is June Hunt, who has the radio broadcast "Hope in the Night." The gentleness with which she does it shows no bitterness. Her example is a reminder for me to do a "heart check" before I speak. I find Proverbs helpful in this:

"Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life. Put away perversity from your mouth; keep corrupt talk far from your lips." (Prov. 4: 23, 24)

Intent and attitude are very important. When our hearts are right, it is possible to use one's story and have it be edifying to another.

deb on 4:52 PM said...

I did not have an abusive husband-my hubby is wonderful, thank God-but I did have an abusive mother. Talking about my problems helped me ultimately heal and forgive her. I think that sometimes we have to accept that we are angry and hurting in order to get past the pain.

Hannah on 7:24 PM said...

I agree deb. I honestly think all that anger inside of me would have imploded if I didn't have an outlet.

I'm glad you took that step towards healing as well!

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