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Archive for the tag “gossip”

Gossip

originalRemember the nosey neighbor on “Bewitched?” Her name was Gladys Kravitz. That is the person I envision when I think of a gossip. She made it her business to report on the happenings of the neighborhood. I can still see her whipping back the curtains to get a glimpse of the action.

I recently had a conversation with my sister on the topic of gossip. That conversation has lingered to the point that I asked the Lord to show me the difference between gossip and slander and how it begins. Ask and you shall receive, right?

Gossip begins with something as innocent as idle talk. The scripture that first came to me was 2 Timothy 2:16 “But avoid all empty (vain, useless, idle) talk, for it will lead people into more and more ungodliness.”

Being one who learns best from word pictures, stories, songs, etc., here’s how it was fed to me, using a fictional example of a typical conversation between friends that started out innocently enough, but ended up in a train wreck.

 “Amy:  Hey, I was just thinking about Mary. How is she? She’s always been such a hardworking, nice girl. I really admire her. (Idle talk)

Maya:  Mary had a little lamb and then she had another. And then she had another lamb from a married brother. (Gossip)

Amy:   What??? I had no idea.

Maya:  Yeah, if she would’ve stayed in church like she was raised she would’ve made better choices the first time and not married that loser. Now she’s the neighborhood ___________ chasing after married men. Keep her in your prayers. It’s so sad!” (Slander)

You see how innocently that began?  I even see how Maya’s initial comment was factual, but before she completed her thought that train was already off the track and headed for a wall.  You see why the scripture encourages us to avoid idle talk?  It began as a spark and then just got out of control.

…the tongue is a small thing that makes grand speeches. But a tiny spark can set a great forest on fire.” James 3:5 “but no one can tame the tongue. It is restless and evil, full of deadly poison.” James 3:8 OY!!!

When I explained my “findings” to my sister I likened it to a car that sits in idle. It’s on but not going anywhere yet. The minute you move from park to drive you have increased your potential for an accident.

I was challenged recently by someone and our exchange was super peaceful.  As we spoke I kept hearing the Holy Spirit say, “shut it down” and so I did and all was well. Later, I repeated the exchange to someone I dearly love and respect, (perhaps for some insight, maybe for some validation), never divulging any names, but that wasn’t good enough for the Lord, you see. My spirit was checked and immediately I reached out to her and I apologized for sharing the exchange with her. I love our fellowship too much to become familiar enough to go “there.” Oh, the grace she extended to me….that and so many reasons why I love her!

Good grief, what do we talk about then?

I’m thinking that if we habitually fix our thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure and lovely, and admirable, excellent, and worthy of praise, that is what will be deposited in our hearts and will make its way out to the hearer.

And then there’s always the monk life.

Either way, here’s some wisdom that brings this topic home.

“Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.” Ephesians 4:29

“Whoever belittles his neighbor lacks sense, but a man of understanding remains silent. Whoever goes about slandering reveals secrets, but he who is trustworthy in spirit keeps a thing covered.” Proverbs 11:12-13

“Whoever goes about slandering reveals secrets; therefore do not associate with a simple babbler”. Proverbs 20:19

“Whoever keeps his mouth and his tongue keeps himself out of trouble.” Proverbs 21:23

I’m encouraged to kick it up a notch. To listen and redirect conversations that may go south, to watch my words, to season my conversation with kindness only and to avoid being a receptacle for anyone else’s trash.

If you hear I’ve joined a monastery, you will know that I have failed.  🙂

 

I Wanna Live on Holy Hill in a Sacred Tent

Today during my prayer time, I came across Psalm 15.  I love a good checklist and tend to tell the truth (in my head) while I’m reading that checklist.  If I don’t like my answers, I just keep on flipping the pages for something more pleasant, but those answers stay with me.  OY!!!

v. 1 Lord, who may dwell in your sacred tent?  Who may live on your holy mountain?  (I’m good here, because I want to…I really do!  Oh Lord, may I?)

v. 2 The one whose walk is blameless (uh oh), who does what is righteous (subject to interpretation), who speaks the truth from their heart (I’m feeling pretty good now, kinda);

v. 3 Whose tongue utters no slander (ummm…), who does no wrong to a neighbor (I don’t try to), and casts no slur on others (uh, Proverbs 31 anyone?) – If this entire verse could be removed, I’d be feeling a lot better!

v. 4 who despises a vile person but honors those who fear the Lord (I’m working on despising the deed not the doer…that’s good, right?); who keeps an oath even when it hurts, and does not change their mind (I got this…no longer clenching my jaw!);

v. 5 who lends money to the poor without interest; who does not accept a bribe against the innocent (piece of cake).

Whoever does these things will never be shaken.

So, am I a candidate to dwell (remain, abide, stay) in His sacred tent or on Holy Hill?  Wanting to is not good enough, it seems.  (“If you are willing AND obedient, you will eat the good of the land.” Isaiah 1:19)  Having great intentions won’t get me where I wanna be, either!  That stinkin’ tongue!!  The truth is we all have work to do.  The bar is set so high lest we walk around puffed up monitoring other people’s checklists while we move into pride, marveling at how perfect we are and shunning those who just don’t measure up.  Humility goes a long way!

I was checked this morning and am thankful for ears to hear and a willingness to allow Him in to shed His light on the areas in most need of adjusting so that I can humbly claim my spot in the best campsite ever…that sacred tent on Holy Hill!

Hiking shoes (check); rod – to swipe at any enemies trying to impede my progress (check); blinders – can’t afford to be distracted (check); mind stayed on Him (check); pressing forward.  Here I come, Lord…save me a spot!!

“Lord, set a guard over my mouth; keep watch over the door of my lips; give me ears to hear and a tenderness for those You’ve placed in my life so that I may speak words of life and hope, kindness and mercy.  Give me the grace to quickly forgive and the ability to walk in the agape kind of love that bears up under anything and everything, overlooks wrongdoing, keeps no record, believes the best and endures without weakening…in Jesus’ name.”

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