JM’s Journal: Stop Talking About People

Three young women sitting on a bench and praying for the girl in the middle
Credit: Priscilla DuPreez in

Stop Talking About People

Start Praying for Them

by J.M. Troppello

“Be impeccable with your word. Speak with integrity. Say only what you mean. Avoid using the word to speak against yourself or to gossip about others. Use the power of your word in the direction of truth and love.” – Don Miguel Ruiz

Talking about people is never a good thing. My husband and I have had discussions about this subject. We don’t typically talk about other people. However, sometimes ‘discussions’ about a family member’s issues can go down a rabbit hole that it’s difficult to get out of.

Care and concern for this person can easily become negative if the conversation starts to become unproductive. That can happen when you begin to complain about the person or get annoyed about how they are acting or living their life. Maybe you think you’re being helpful. However, talking about their behavior can be seriously fruitless.

It’s better to start praying for them.

Tips on Avoiding This Type of Unproductive Behavior

During our 18 years of marriage, my husband and I have come up with some ‘rules’ that we try to live by—so that we don’t talk about people—but instead pray for them.

1. Venting Time

It’s important to vent when you are upset, have been offended by someone, or don’t like their behavior. However, venting can quickly turn unproductive and keep you stuck in a cycle of negativity.

My husband and I have agreed that we can vent about things, but we don’t allow it to go to extremes. We’ve seen our venting about others go to extremes in the past. That has caused us to react negatively to those people we were talking about when we saw them in person.

2. The 24-Hour Rule

That caused us to create the 24-hour rule. If someone hurts us or we need to vent about something, we have 24 hours to talk about it with each other. If either of us brings it up again the next day or weeks or even years in the future—the other one of us needs to say we shouldn’t be discussing this anymore. We already dealt with it and prayed about the issue and for the people involved.

3. Pray for them

The most important step in this process is to pray for people. When you get caught up in complaining about them—even if you are trying to help because you think you know better—you’re never helping the situation.

The best way to move forward is to pray for the person. Pray that God helps you have a better attitude toward them. Ask God to intervene in their situation and open their eyes to see His will for their life. If you want to be helpful, pray that God will open the right door for you to talk to them—in a positive, loving, and constructive way—provided the person is open to hearing from you.

Start Praying for People

You likely mean well, but sometimes you can quickly get unproductive and start talking about people. Change your tune and start praying for them instead. Follow our basic rules to redirect your behavior.

  • Venting Time

  • The 24-Hour Rule

  • Pray for Them

“Live in such a way that you would not be ashamed to sell your parrot to the town gossip.” – Will Rogers

I love that statement from Will Rogers. If I had a parrot, I’m not sure I’d be so excited to have it share what I’ve said in my home with everyone else. That definitely gives me something to think about. Hopefully, it makes you think too.

Article syndicated by Mustard Seed Sentinel on


About the Author

JM Troppello at Mustard Seed Sentinel

J.M. Troppello is an author, writer, and poet. She is the publisher of the online Christian lifestyle magazine, Mustard Seed Sentinel.

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