“Did you hear about Kelly?” (sorry to any Kelly’s out there) “Sad, so sad, but you know, well it didn’t have to go that way. Oh, I’m only mentioning this so you can pray for her.” Really? How many of you have found yourselves in situations where you start to feel really uncomfortable with conversations? I certainly have. Situations where I feel the gossip train is pulling into the station or that words are not as loving as they should be. You know what I’m talking about? Oh come on, we girls are professional conversationalists, especially when a cup of something hot is involved. I’m sure we’ve all been there, if not the one listening, then the one talking.
I’m often challenged by author and bible teacher Beth Moore. This one story of hers impacted me; “I once attended a very prestigious lunch at a
country club. All the women were God-honouring, church-serving Christians. A lady asked me, ”So Beth, how do you feel about our president? Don’t you think he’s lost?” I am horrified when I consider how in former years I might have dogmatically answered that question. Thankfully, I have learned a few things since then and have had a few too many peeks at my own sinful nature. I could only respond: “After the mercy it took for God to save my own sinful soul, I would be far too afraid to guess.” Houston
If the women in Beth Moore’s story ever got the opportunity to speak with the president, then would she ask him herself? Isn’t that the bottom line to gossip. If we are not willing to have the same discussion with the person present, then we know we are out of line. But for the grace of God go I … I’m not likely to be president, but I think you get my drift. There are at least three camps, that I can see, 1) the person talking freely about others, 2) the person listening and enjoying the conversation, maybe adding their 2 cents worth 3) the person not comfortable about the conversation, but not sure why or what to do, 4) the person who knows it’s plain wrong and walks away, 5) the person who pulls up everyone in the group on the conversation. Did I say three categories? It grew a bit just like gossip does. What category do you fit into, or maybe you have another category option? I’ve heard many times “Well I’m allowed to have an opinion, aren’t I?” That is a good question, don’t you think? Of course we can have opinions, but opinions are private thoughts, they don’t have to see the light of day
Gossiping words are crumbs of information, you don’t get the whole loaf of bread, you get scattered crumbs. Jesus gives us more in John 6:35 “Then Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. He who comes to me will never go hungry, and he who believes in me will never be thirsty.” Why is it we grovel around for the crumbs of gossip when we can feast on the bread of life? We needn’t delve too deep into our psyche or faith to see what need is being met when we gossip. Know this, that need can only be met by the bread of life, Jesus. Thank you Lord for providing all we need. Help us not to chase things of no value. Help us identify our insecurities and idols of our hearts, and replace them with you Lord. May our words bring glory to you. Psalm 63:3 says “Because your love is better than life, my lips will glorify you.” (NIV)
I confess my lips are sometimes too busy muttering things that should not be heard instead of bringing glory to God. 1 Tim 1:5-6, “The goal of this command is love, which comes from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith. Some have wandered away from these and turned to meaningless talk.” Even if our talk isn’t ‘mean’ towards others it may be meaningless. Jeremiah 15:19 is powerful, “Therefore this is what the Lord says; “If you repent, I will restore you, that you may serve me; if you utter worthy, not worthless, words, you will be my spokesman.” These verses are powerful. Repent, be restored by Jesus so that we may serve Him. The authority of God is giving us wisdom to live right, to live as ambassadors. What an honour to be God’s spokeswoman. Anyone else like to put that on your resume? Anyone else want to know what life would be like if our words were only meaningful and worthy?
If you fear your words at times have been less than loving. that your words have dishonoured your blood family or family of faith, or that your words have not brought glory to God, know this; you are not alone. Confess and find joy in forgiveness. Repent and be restored. Keep reading through 1 Tim 1 and you will find this reassuring verse “Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners – of whom I am the worst.” Anyone else got their hands up with me on this one? Then keep reading verse 16 “But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his unlimited patience as an example for those who would believe on him and receive eternal life.”
Once failed, always a failure! That is so contrary to how God sees you! When you let your mouth run away on you, fall flat on your face in confession, then stand up and believe that Jesus’ love covers your sin, and God has forgiven you just as he said he would. God is no liar, if you repent, He will forgive and restore. Fact! Believe it! Now stand up, walk on in grace, knowing that you are not a write-off, just because you are not perfect. Perfection is Gods, and his mercy and grace make us worthy to stand up and walk on. I just can’t help but remind you again, “Because your love is better than life, my lips will glorify you.” Psalm 63:3 (NIV) That would make a good memory verse wouldn’t it?