One: There is always more to a story. Usually when we hear bad news about another person it is at best partial news. Take a marriage conflict or a divorce. Hearing from one partner does not give one a complete picture. There is always more to a story. Wise individuals think grey about negative information passed on about others because they know there is always more to a story.
Two: There is always the rest of the story. Even when people do bad things, that need not be the end of the story because with redemption and change the end of the story can be different than the current story. Wise people know that we need to give people the opportunity to change their story rather than assume their current story is the full story.
Three: Good people can do bad things. Do you doubt this? Consider yourself. Each of us do bad things but we don't consider ourselves bad people. God sees us as holy people who still sin. Therefore, don't write others off because of their bad actions. Wise people know that good people can do bad things and don't demonize the person.
Four: People love to believe and share the worst about others rather than the best. It is our lower nature to share the worst about others rather than the best about others. We are really good at it. Perhaps it makes us feel better about ourselves. Wise people know this tendency and keep in mind that there are likely very good things about the character and behavior of those they are hearing negative things about.
These four truths can change our paradigms when it comes to gossip. Wise people always keep these in mind and therefore resist gossip. It also gives them a more compassionate and gracious response to those who have done bad things. It need not be the end of the story and it is unlikely the full story.
TJ Addington (Addington Consulting) has a passion to help individuals and organizations maximize their impact and go to the next level of effectiveness. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
"Creating cultures of organizational excellence."