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In the movie “What’s Love Got To Do With It,” the story of a destructive relationship between Ike and Tina Turner, when Angela Bassett a.k.a.

Tina, had had enough of Ike, she boldly headed into divorce court seeking to come out with nothing more than her name. The judge was stunned as she reiterated that she was leaving with nothing, but her name.

We are known by our name, it is how we are identified. Some names are more recognizable than others, some more famous, but nonetheless our name belongs to us.

It amazes me how some folks don’t have any concern about the defamation of another’s name. Gossip and slander is tossed around seemingly with no concern of the potential impact. What happens from there is a snowball effect.

What may be thought of as harmless chatter and entertaining gossip can potentially cause irrevocable harm. Left in the wrong hands, a person could miss out on a job opportunity, a relationship, an approval etc.

I like the way it appears in Proverbs 10:18; simply making the point that when we slander, we are acting as a fool. Can’t get any plainer than that. Or, you may have heard an old saying “loose lips, sink ships.” Either way, the point is made.

The next time you are faced with gossip try these suggestions:

• When approached with gossip, quickly begin to share the positives that you know about the person or the situation.

• Location, location, location! Places like workplace cafeteria’s and break rooms, classrooms, the telephone and church, yes church, are common places prime for gossip. When you see someone approaching that is a known gossiper, shift and you begin the conversation steering it in the direction you want it to go.

• Have the courage to tell the person, you don’t enjoy slandering by gossiping. Remember, you are more than likely one of their next topics.

• Lastly, hmmm is such a powerful response. Follow up with; I don’t really know much about …., so probably it’s best I don’t comment.

Whatever your remedy, don’t be afraid of using it. Awareness is key. If we are aware and practice avoidance, we can stop this harmful behavior.

Heading out the door, think I am going to wear my “just say NO to gossip” t-shirt.

Read more columns by Tanya Wilson, an inspirational speaker based in Charlotte. Find her on Facebook.

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