Perhaps you are familiar with the saying, “Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people.” Admittedly, there are ways to speak of people that can honor them. But this saying highlights our darker experiences. In a world of ever-present media—social and professional—we are continually confronted with people’s lives at a level of intimacy that can be inappropriate.
Worse, this tidal wave of personal information about others could become grist for our conversational mills to the point that gossip becomes the norm—and not just about the rich and famous. People in our workplaces, churches, neighborhoods, and families can also be targets of sharp tongues and feel the pain of discussions that never should have happened.
How can we escape our inclination to use words to hurt others? By recognizing that the ultimate Hearer of our words is God, who longs for us to be better than that. With the psalmist, we can pray, “Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Your sight, O Lord” (Ps. 19:14). When we seek to please God with our conversations about others, we honor Him. With His help, we can glorify Him through what we talk about.