“But I tell you who hear me: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.”
How can we possibly love our “enemies”? Only through prayer. Our Lord is always willing to listen to your frustrations, and is faithful to guide your heart to love. Perhaps if the one who gossips speaks her frustrations to God, He will open her eyes to see the pain or weakness in the other, and to have compassion. Perhaps the Lord will open her eyes to see the weakness in herself, and to be humble. After all, gossip is connected to pride. Thinking too highly of oneself can lead to impatience with others. Has the gossiper never done anything foolish or annoying? Would the gossiper wish to have all of her life made public? Having a proper view of oneself, remembering one’s own shortcomings, is key. Our Lord can fill a humble person with his love, compassion, tenderness, and patience.
Another possibility is that a gossiper is sharing scandalous or salacious tidbits, perhaps even about a friend. It may make her feel important to be “in the know.” These are real, natural, human temptations. Again, I think the solution lies in humility and love. Humility and love are things which our Lord offers to us. They are not things which one can create on one’s own. It is our Lord, through prayer, who can fill us with these beautiful attributes.
Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves.John 15:17
This is my command: Love each other.
To answer the question of what to do if a person is gossiping to you: be patient, loving, and gentle with him or her. I recommend silence–not saying anything (a gossiper wants the other to agree, to commiserate), or saying something caring, like, “I’m sorry you are having a hard time,” but which does not affirm or agree with their gossip. If this person is continually gossiping to you and does stop despite your lack of encouragement, you have a decision to make (with prayer): lovingly point out her sin, and encourage her to a better way, or gently distance your relationship. Perhaps you will need to do both.
Reckless words pierce like a sword, but the tongue of the wise brings healing.
A gossip betrays a confidence; so avoid a man who talks too much.
But encourage one another daily, … so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness.