During flu season, the best way to stop its spread is to stay home if you’re sick and to wash your hands often. This way, you’re less likely to make anyone else sick and to contribute to an epidemic. If every person did this, flu season would probably be significantly shorter and less devastating.
In much the same way, you can help stop the spread of gossip, prejudice and offense. When they come your way, symbolically wash your hands of them and refuse to participate in their growth. If necessary, take time to rest and heal, but refuse to let these sicknesses multiply.
“God grants us the right and power to put an end to what is wrong if we are willing to pay the cost of absorbing it with and for Him.” (Dick Brogden, Live Dead Joy)
Confront or Forgive & Forget?
Following Brogden’s advice requires we learn “when to confront and when to quietly forgive and forget.”
Whenever possible, let an offense go and refuse to become offended. Realize a hurt usually comes from a place within the other person, that it involves their own struggles and probably has little to nothing to do with you. If necessary though, confront the offender with gentleness, kindness and patience.
Letting go and confronting both require forgiveness. Both involve humility. Both need saturated with love.
“Have nothing to do with foolish, ignorant controversies; you know that they breed quarrels. And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but kind to everyone, able to teach, patiently enduring evil, correcting his opponents with gentleness. God may perhaps grant them repentance leading to a knowledge of the truth, and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, after being captured by him to do his will.” (2 Timothy 2:23-26)
When we refuse to spread gossip, prejudice and offence, we choose to “have nothing to do with foolish, ignorant controversies.” Instead, we make sure we’re not hindering anyone from seeing truth.
What are you doing to stop the spread of that which causes broken relationships?