Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - NORTHWEST/TELEVISION - bil­ly­gra­ham.org BILLY GRA­HAM Write to Billy Gra­ham in care of Billy Gra­ham Evan­ge­lis­tic As­so­ci­a­tion, 1 Billy Gra­ham Park­way, Char­lotte, N.C. 28201 or visit the web­site at

DEAR REV. GRA­HAM: Why are some peo­ple so crit­i­cal and judg­men­tal? Al­most ev­ery time my neigh­bor comes over she cuts down other peo­ple and goes on and on about their faults. I’ve won­dered what she must be say­ing about us be­hind our backs. Should I just ig­nore her?

— A.H. DEAR A. H.: What your neigh­bor is do­ing is wrong; she isn’t try­ing to help any­one, but is only in­ter­ested in build­ing her­self up by tear­ing other peo­ple down. The Bi­ble is clear: “Do not let any un­whole­some talk come out of your mouths, but only what is help­ful for build­ing oth­ers up ac­cord­ing to their needs” (Eph­e­sians 4:29).

But I sus­pect your neigh­bor is wrong also be­cause much of what she says prob­a­bly isn’t true (or at least it isn’t the full story). This is one rea­son why the Bi­ble con­demns gos­sip and warns us not to make it part of our lives. Gos­sip al­ways cre­ates suspicion, and even if it’s true, it al­ways causes con­flict and divi­sion. In ad­di­tion, no one who prac­tices gos­sip does so out of pure mo­tives or a sin­cere love for oth­ers. The Bi­ble rightly says, “A per­verse per­son stirs up con­flict, and a gos­sip sep­a­rates close friends” (Proverbs 16:28).

What can you do? First, make sure that you don’t fall into the same habits as your neigh­bor. If you can’t say some­thing good about some­one, leave it un­said. Then ask God to give you an op­por­tu­nity to chal­lenge your neigh­bor. If she brings up some­thing bad about some­one, ask if she knows any­thing good about them. Then gen­tly but firmly let her know that you don’t want gos­sip to be part of your life, and you hope she’ll do the same. Most of all, pray that she’ll open her heart and life to Je­sus Christ and His life-chang­ing love.

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