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Dilemma: It’s impossible to live in this world and not talk about other people outside their presence. If you have been talking today, you probably mentioned the name of someone who was not part of the conversation. It could be a family member, a friend’s name, a celebrity, a sports figure, or a politician.
Motive: The most critical issue you want to address when talking about someone behind their back is your heart’s motive. The motivation of your heart is the watershed issue that will send you in a biblical or non-biblical direction.
Verse: “Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear” (Ephesians 4:29). Our communication should build up the person we’re talking to and not diminish the person we’re talking about, or we will make the problem worse.
Accountable: It would be humble and wise to speak with someone about how they hear you. The concern is not so much any episodes of unwholesome speech from you, though there should be repentance if there is sin. How would your friend characterize your speech patterns?
Who do you talk to about others? Here are two options.
We can talk about people behind their backs. As we do this, we must address our motives for doing so, and if our motivations are as pure as they can be, we want to determine further if there is more we need to do for the person we’re talking about.
Rick launched the Life Over Coffee global training network in 2008 to bring hope and help for you and others by creating resources that spark conversations for transformation. His primary responsibilities are resource creation and leadership development, which he does through speaking, writing, podcasting, and educating.
In 1990 he earned a BA in Theology and, in 1991, a BS in Education. In 1993, he received his ordination into Christian ministry, and in 2000 he graduated with an MA in Counseling from The Master’s University. In 2006 he was recognized as a Fellow of the Association of Certified Biblical Counselors (ACBC).