We all defend those we love in our own way. I have never been good at spoken words. I never feel that I know the correct thing to say, so I often fall back on silence. I realize that my medium of choice is the type-written word. Anyway.
Recently, I have felt that my attempts to defend people have been futile - that they make me look stupid instead of doing what I want them to do . . which I didn't know how to explain. I was reading a blog from my reading list and saw this quote:
"When we are silent, we are hurting the outcome. . .
Research proves that even when the different points of view are wrong,
they cause people to think better,
to create more solutions
and to improve creativity in problem solving."
This is a quote by Nilofer Merchant, author of a book called The Now How.
That quote helped me to realize what it is that I want people to do: think. I want people to think. So many times I feel that we insist on keeping the same opinion about a person. But people change - for a variety of reasons and in a variety of ways. I've always known that it only takes one person to stand up and say something in order to stop bullying. I know that it takes one person to say something convicting to stop gossiping. I know that it takes one person's well-thought-out words to change the mind of a crowd. But my words weren't working.
I often find that my response to gossip is to voice what the object of the gossip could have been thinking. Often, if we can get outside of our own head/situation, we can have more sympathy on others. I find that when I can try to put myself into the situation that I see them in (even though I know that I'm not there, so I don't really understand), I can see why they made whatever decision it was that they made - even if it was a poor one that I may or may not have made. I also want those around me - especially those who claim to be Christians - to be more sympathetic and compassionate.
In some of the recent situations that I have been in, I knew the decision that was made was wrong, but I was more worried about the people around me who were gossiping about it. I didn't know what to say to stop it. . .so I attempted to play the devil's advocate. It didn't work. That bothered me even more.
In the weeks after that time, I have dwelt on the subject. The thought just popped in my head: My attempts didn't work for two reasons. First, people do not really want to think. They want to voice their opinion. It makes them feel important and superior. They gossip to tell people who will listen (hint: the person being gossiped about probably does not want to listen and/or had already heard).
Secondly, people want to solve problems. But are we solving problems by gossiping? No. I believe that when we gossip, we want to help the person, but we know that it is not our place to help them. . .we want to give our two cents, but know that the person who needs to hear it may not want to hear it. We don't want to risk the hurt and/or embarrassment we may acquire once we tell the person.
What are we to do? We are to look for the help outside of ourselves. We are to look for help with the One Who has the best interest of both parties in mind. The One Who can change lives. . . Have you prayed about the situation? Have you prayed about the person you are worried about? Have you left your worries with Jesus? Do you really trust Him to deal with the person in question? Maybe that's the problem. Maybe we don't have enough faith that God really knows what He is doing. I only know myself. . .and that I do not like to admit that I do not have enough faith, but I am reminded to pray, "Lord, I believe, help thou mine unbelief." and leave the situation with Him.