There are many ways to respond to people, especially when we think they might need our help. One of them is silence!
I once met a group of people that liked to speak of the mistakes people make. At first, I was uncomfortable while listening to them, but then it became easy for me to speak of them and their mistakes, too! I had followed suite. But to what end? I didn’t accomplish anything by speaking about them like that. Instead, I made the situation worse because now more people knew about it, I made people feel judged, and I, myself, felt horrible. I never meant to intentionally harm anyone. In fact, talking with people about people can happen so naturally that you don't realize it. I didn’t understand that what I was doing was a thing called gossip, and you know what gossip does? It causes destruction.
However, God has His way of opening our eyes to things - and He usually does it silently, but with great power!
I was praying with the scriptures one night, specifically Psalm 141. This happened to be a very quiet night. I had read this Psalm before, but this night God open my ears to hear Him and there was like a loud silence highlighting the following two verses:
In the midst of that silence, I learned to be silent - which for many of us, is something that has to be learned. I understood that I was feeling bad because I was making too much noise with my mouth. I was hurting others by creating gossip, and most of all, I was hurting God because he doesn't want his children to be slandered. Since I was able to understand this, I went to confession to ask God for forgiveness. Sure enough, He forgave me and later even exposed me to an effective way I could use my words, either when I speak of others, or when I just need to be silent. Below is the guide I learned from Fr. Mike Schmitz quoting Socrates.
Before you share information about a person, think about this:
Is it true?
Is it good?
Is it useful?
If the answer is no, or unsure, then it is likely gossip. Gossip is so easy to do because all you have to do is open your mouth before you think! Don’t allow destruction to come out of your mouth. Rather, let an uplifting breeze come forth from your mouth. Sometimes this might mean doing it in silence, while praying.
Many of us have an urge to speak. That's fine, but think about your intention and the potential consequences, first. I think you'll find that often, the best response is prayer. God, who can see and hear everything, knows what you do - especially in silence.