top of page
  • Writer's pictureJen Weaver

What do you mean, "Dead people don't gossip?"

In the middle of feelings of despair after hurtful gossip at church, I received the weirdest answer. It was the beginning of a perspective shift, and the first step toward needed change.

Art by Sabrina Peterson
Art by Sabrina Peterson

I was a young mom the first time I ever experienced the changes that come with a big move. At first it was exciting, but reality changed after an awkward comment at a women's church activity,"You've made more friends in six months, than I've made in six years." The woman who said it had an angry look on her face and something inside told me it wasn't a light-hearted joke.

When hurtful gossip followed, I felt intense anxiety and fear with a super familiar feel that I couldn't place. I couldn't stop my mind from churning over the details of what was said about me. Anytime there was more gossip, I felt like a fish that couldn't help take the bait. Later, after returning home from a trip, a friend told me of another rumor spread. This time, it was in connection with the devastating loss of my pregnancy. My friend thought it was so ridiculous, it was funny. But I didn't see it that way.

I began suffering from panic attacks and uncontrollable bouts of crying. I wanted to be invisible, and felt the strongest urge to hide. Each Sunday at church, I tried to make myself as small as possible in the pew, hiding between my husband and our children. I knew my behavior was weird, but it felt involuntary.

Around that time, I met up with some friends at a faith-based women’s conference which felt like a huge reprieve, but when I returned home, I felt worse. One morning, my mind became stuck replaying the hurtful details of gossip, and I broke. I hated my life in this new place and prayed for help to know what to do. I received the strangest answer.

Dead people don't gossip, they have better things to do! How about researching your family's history?

I know that sounds really weird, but it was an immediate perspective shift. When I thought of loved ones who had moved on from this life, I didn't picture them sitting around fretting over ridiculous things like church gossip -- they had a new life to enjoy! Those words in that moment were perfect for me. They snapped me out of total sorrow. And, I had to laugh! It was like comic relief from God.

Learning about my grandmother (who died after a difficult life in her 40’s), and my great-grandfather who prematurely left behind a family of nine children after a tragic accident, drew my attention to the fact that no one escapes adversity. Later, I would come across this:

“It is not enough to simply try to resist evil or empty your life of sin. You must fill your life with righteousness and engage in activities that bring spiritual power…”

- True to the Faith

I have found that this applies not only to sin, but to other things, too. It has never been enough to just empty my life of negativity, I’ve also had to fill that space with something good. It’s an easily-ignored cliche: “When you’re struggling, go help someone. You’ll see your problems aren’t so bad!” I’ve heard it said that in looking at the life of Jesus Christ, we see Him, in the midst of intense personal suffering, constantly turning outward when most of us would turn inward. While mourning the death of a cousin, when taken and imprisoned, while suffering intense physical and emotional pain, in the midst of these afflictions, Jesus Christ helped others.

Even though there was more to my fear and anxiety than I understood at the time, that strange answer -- "Dead people don't gossip, they have better things to do!" taught me to keep taking my trials to God, because He could answer me in unexpected ways. I struggled for a long time, but a visual from the scriptures became a powerful tool in moving forward with my load, until I found healing. In the meantime, more answers for coping with hurt at church came:

Church gossip used to get me down until I learned this



Related Posts

See All
bottom of page