Struggling to remain charitable re: gossip

I usually try to let things not get to me as I understand I cannot control others and what they do but tonight I am struggling. A relative is telling friends about something that happened that only she and I know about (I admit, my reaction at the time was poor but I was extremely upset).

This relative is my elder so it makes it all the worse as I know if she is telling friends, it will get around to family members and I’ll look like the immature one. It wasn’t even an issue between us, it was an issue I was having and she just happened to witness my reaction.

I don’t know what to do. It’s like this one moment of weakness will be used against me for the rest of time. And after this moment, I’ve never spoken negatively about the said issue again. I asked her not to share it with anyone as it was a private family matter but she has never respected the privacy of what is said between us, and she’ll deny it if I confront her.

Sorry this is so vague, I just don’t want to be specific but am willing to share more through PM. I’m just hurt and feel exposed as if she shares this, who knows what else is out there about me.

So someone will find out that you are not perfect from someone they probably know by now cannot keep her mouth shut. This is embarrassing, she shouldn’t do it, but it is not the end of the world. You have little choice but to accept that she did this to you, to resolve in the future to behave in front of her as if you had CNN cameras trained on you, to admit your fault when it is brought before you to talk about it, and to just move on. This will blow over.

Be more concerned with your character than your reputation,
because your character is what you really are,
while your reputation is merely what others think you are
**John Wooden **

Be more concerned about why you allowed yourself to act in this embarrassing manner than that someone else is telling everyone else about your lapse. If the problem is that you confided something to her that was not yours to confide, I would call the party whose trust you betrayed and apologize for your poor choice of confidant. If no one else is being compromised, but only you, then let it go. If you are asked about it, admit your flaw and express regret that you ever acted like that. Do not say anything about the blabbermouth that told the whole world about your fault. If you handle it that way, there will be no doubt about whether or not you are mature, at least not with anyone who has good judgment about these kind of things.

Will it be “held against you forever”? I find that highly unlikely. You live in an age and a place where mistakes are considered par for the course. Be thankful for that, admit your shortcomings, confess what was sinful (if anything), resolve to do better in the future, and just move on. But do realize that this relative cannot be trusted with sensitive information. The Lord didn’t trust everyone on this earth, and neither should you.

But Jesus would not trust himself to them because he knew them all,
and did not need anyone to testify about human nature. He himself understood it well.

John 2:24-25

Thank you for the advice…it’s tough when you live with this type of person. It just worries me as it could cause a huge rift in my relationship with another person and there’s already rocky ground all around due to things out of my control…I guess I can’t do much besides keep on my best behavior the best I can. it makes me feel paranoid with loved ones which is sad.

I have been there, and it is very hard, especially when it is family. Still, the ones to put your faith in are those who “know all about you, and love you just the same”. You can only do your best, hope for mercy to cover the shortfall after that, and extend that same mercy when you have the grace to do it. Beyond that, well, it’s a work of humility, that’s all there is to it…and do not worry yourself that it is work. It doesn’t get easy in this life, but we can trust our Guide to get us through the dark valley!

Who knows what else is out there about you already? All sorts of things, I’m sure. It’s out there about us all.

You be yourself, you do your best, hold up your head and never - ever - spread gossip. Not even about the gossip. If someone ever comes to you and says, “I heard this about you…” your response is, “I don’t listen to gossip.” And you immediately change the subject.

If this relative is a nasty gossip, you aren’t the only on who knows it and others will take her with a grain of salt, anyway. If you made a mistake, so has everyone else. If people judge you, God will take note of it.

This is something every one of us learns to live with.

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