“Mommy, she hit me”
“Daddy, he said that he was going to…..”
“Did you see what she did? She just went over and….”
“Hi, Sally, I just wanted to email you and tell you what I read today that so-in-so wrote….”
“That car just cut me off. I can’t believe it – the driver was texting on their phone and didn’t see me!”
You hear/read it all day, right? The tall tales from a tattle tale. Some days, the tales are true. Other days, they are far from the truth. Somedays, the tattling comes from those sweet little cherubim in our homes and other days, it comes from a grown adult.
Either way, it’s unwanted drama. But, it’s drama we must address.
What causes Tattle Tales?
First of all, that old sin PRIDE causes someone to tattle. After all, we believe we deserve revenge on someone who has done something to us we don’t like. Or perhaps, we just want someone to know that the person who committed the
offense sin (let’s call it what it is, ok), should be sought out and punished.
But, let’s think about this for a minute. What do you think when a child comes to tattle? Well, first of all, you probably think they should not be tattling. And you probably tell them so. Yet, they continue to do so and adults continue to do the same thing.
So, how do we get both adults and children to stop the Drama caused by tattling?
Stop the Tattle Tale Drama
First, you have to call it what it is – you have to call it a sin. Our sin nature causes us to tattle – again, from pride. So, we must call it what it is. We must address it and we must explain to the tattler, that tattling and tall tales/gossip are NOT acceptable.
You must sit down and read scripture with your child (the tattler) and share with them that we are all sinners and pointing out the fault of another is a sin. They need to understand this, or they will spend their life tattling on others.
Remember, you are growing adults and those little tattlers grow into gossips and share the sins of others through gossip, prayer requests (oh yes….) and other means. I have even heard that some adults have started sending emails to employers about employees (even if they don’t work for that company).
Tattling is a sin – it is not the way you address the sins of another.
Teach Them How To Address Sins
The Bible clearly tells us how to address sins committed by others.
“If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother. But if he does not listen, take one or two others along with you, that every charge may be established by the evidence of two or three witnesses. If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church. And if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector.” Matthew 18:15-17
So, this means if/when someone is tempted to tattle they should,
- Talk to the person they are tempted to tattle on
- This means you need to teach your children how to address others in a loving manner. They can’t do this if they are whining or crying. So, they may need to learn how to walk away until they can pray, read the Bible and gain proper composure.
- They need to understand that they are sinners and need to approach the person in a loving way, remembering they are only saved by the grace of God.
- As a parent, you must be teaching the gospel to your children through reading it and living it
- If the person continues in their behavior:
- Your child needs to know how to approach an adult to seek help – not vengance or revenge.
- This will take time. It is important for every parent to teach their children how to love others and to remember grace and mercy at all times
- You, as the parent need to remember that there are two sides to every story. It is important to help the children talk together and understand what happened.
- Generally, people are offended most by what is in their heart. It is easy to mis-read or misunderstand something based on our own spiritual growth. Remember, your children are young. They need guidance and grace
- If the person did sin, they need to admit their sin and ask for forgiveness.
When an Adult Tattles
If you are tempted to ‘tattle’ on someone, take a deep breath and ask yourself if you have ever committed a sin. The answer to that question will be ‘yes’. So, before you move forward with calling your best friend or emailing someone, ask what you would want someone to do for you if you offended them. Chances are, I bet you would want them to follow Jesus’ words in Matthew. You would want them to keep it between the two of you. By doing this, you are loving this person using proper Biblical Protocal and protecting their reputation. You may even be protecting your reputation. After all, the offense you consider a sin, may actually be something you completely misunderstood. Like the person who cut you off in the car, they may be heading to the hospital because they have a child in the ER. Or, if you read something that offended you, you may be mis-reading it based on your own heart issues. If you keep the matter between the two of you, you have a beautiful opportunity to be Jesus, to share the gospel and to grow a deeper relationships. However, if you tell someone else, send an email or do something else, you are not following a Biblical protocal and are – yourself committing a sin.
In the end, tattle telling is a learned behavior and a heart issue. Nip it in the bud with the words from the Bible, grace and the Gospel! And if you have been ‘tattled’ on – you have to decide if the person who tattled is a follower of Christ. If you can’t see fruit, you must follow the last line….and pray for them to receive truth and for your own heart to be healed of their offense.
What do you do about tattling in your home?