And Adam Hamilton has this to say:
How can we actually avoid speaking ill of others? Here's what I do when I am at my best and exercising restraint:
First, I remember the call of Christ to avoid judging and to avoid calling names (Matthew 5:21-22) My aim is to do Christ's will. Speaking ill of others does not accomplish that aim.
Second, I try to search my own heart to see what is behind my need to speak ill of the person. Usually the motivation will be fear, jealousy, insecurity, or revenge. I remind myself of the words of Mark Twain, "Among human beings jealousy ranks distinctly as a weakness; a trademark of small minds."
Third, I make it a point to look for the good in the other and to focus on lifting that up rather than pointing out the person's weaknesses.
Fourth, I remember the biblical call to humility and remind myself that I may not be seeing the other person the way God sees him or her. I may not know all the facts. And I remember the many ways in which I fall short of God's plans.
By the time I've walked through this mental exercise, I find it easier to practice what my mother taught me growing up: If you can't find anything good to say about someone, don't say anything at all.
Sounds like good advice...
I used to have the following saying taped to my computer monitor.
Plaque can be found at Tumbleweed Pottery