Triangulation–where two people talk about a third behind their back is one of the most destructive habits of dysfunctional families. It’s simply a form of gossip, but it’s hard to catch because the talking parties imagine they are solving a problem. It might give them a false sense of security, but who’s to say they won’t be the one talked about next week?
Triangulation might help someone vent, but it doesn’t fix anything because it keeps the two parties who are having the disagreement from solving their own problem. It only makes the situation worse if they find out about it.
Gossip is the oldest form of war. Most Christians have heard of a war in heaven. I’ve seen Christians try to portray this war with hand grenades and light sabers. I doubt either was used in this war because no one had seen anyone die yet. The thought of taking life probably wasn’t on the minds of angels until God led Adam and Eve from the Tree of Life.
Many scholars believe Isaiah 14 is talking about the devil and how the original mother of all wars began by a self-elevating angel trying to put himself above God’s throne. I’ve talked about the Steps of Jesus vs. Satan before. In other words Satan wanted to rule everyone. Contrast this with Jesus–come to earth as the servant God who allowed us to kill him and died a criminal’s death.
So what kind of war was this? It was an attack on God’s character through lies the Satan told about God. They must’ve been believable because one third of the angels in heaven believed him. When our family members lie about us, can we expect any less?
Jesus is the Truth and he always speaks the truth. Sometimes the truth is painful to hear. This is what Jesus says about those who lie–
You belong to your father, the devil,
and you want to carry out your father’s desires.
He was a murderer from the beginning,
not holding to the truth,
for there is no truth in him.
When he lies,
he speaks his native language,
for he is a liar and the father of lies.
-John 8:44, NIV
Each of us was born to be a child of God, but our status will eventually be confirmed by our choices. If we are a child of God we will love even those who wish us harm. It’s not easy when people lie about us, but this is proof of being with God–
Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God.
Whoever does not love does not know God,
because God is love.
-1 John 4:8
It might seem like a little lie or a little gossip won’t kill us, but it robs us of authenticity. It makes us dishonest. It creates fake personas. Gossip causes more harm to one who practices it than the person they talk about. Our goal is to become like our Father in heaven, but sadly, those who practice such behavior to become more and more like the father of lies.
We have two choices– we can tell the truth, accept the truth and own the truth–or we can embrace lies. We can’t do one and the other because they are diametrically opposed.
If you have family that is constantly spreading gossip and lies to you or about you, it’s time to disengage. Let them know you are glad to see them if they choose to walk in the light, but you’re not hanging around to tear down other people.
There are six things the Lord hates,
seven that are detestable to him:
a lying tongue,
hands that shed innocent blood,
a heart that devises wicked schemes,
feet that are quick to rush into evil,
a false witness who pours out lies
and a person who stirs up conflict in the community.