It was our weekly meeting time, and as we gathered, I couldn’t help but notice two participants huddled together, engrossed in social media, and giggling. While I quietly prepared for our meeting waiting for others to arrive, their laughter filled the room as they critiqued a friend’s hairstyle, dissected someone’s social media presentation, and even speculated about the homes of others.

This was a Christian group, but over time, it became evident that the atmosphere had turned toxic. Looking back, I regret not taking a stand against the gossip that popped into some of our gatherings. Despite knowing better, I allowed fear to hold me back from intervening. It pains me to admit that I remained silent while harmful conversations flourished.

I didn’t participate. But, I didn’t stop it.

As I reflect on that season long ago, I can clearly see in myself fear, people pleasing and immaturity. I have confessed it as sin and I am now better at identifying situations like this and avoiding them before they become damaging. I no longer have fear to speak up and call it out in a kind and redirecting way.

As we contemplate the repercussions of gatherings tainted by gossip or negativity, it’s crucial to acknowledge that we’re all susceptible to moments of inappropriate laughter at someone else’s expense. Yet, God’s grace and forgiveness are available to us all. We must resist the temptation to turn a blind eye to wrongdoing and instead learn from past mistakes.

There are women all over this country taking the first brave choice to step into a Christian circles through Bible studies, ministry committees and life groups. When they land in a situation like I describe above, it delays their spiritual growth as some will leave and not return to christian community for decades if ever.

We see this as Paul addresses the church in Corinth in 2 Corinthians 12:20 –

For I am afraid that when I come I may not find you as I want you to be, and you may not find me as you want me to be. I fear that there may be discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, slander, gossip, arrogance and disorder.

How these words convict me even now knowing that I participated in discord, slander and gossip even though I never uttered a word. My silence was support of this behavior.

I love the popular memes on social media that says “Be the kind of woman that speaks positively about another woman who is not seated at the table.”  With so much division in the world today, we can be an advocate building another woman up who is not seated at the table. We can be inviters including others at the table when possible and we can model healthy Biblical community.

Ask God to show you how to lift others positively and add value to their lives. When you see gossip happening, shut it down and trust God bless your obedience. Let’s unleash an army of sisters who are ready to create tables where others are represented well, even in their absence. I’m ready, are you?

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