I am taking a break from my regular cute and sweet posts to share something on my heart. This past Sunday, Pastor Brady preached a sermon about gossip. You can watch it here. I must confess, this is something I have always struggled with. I don't believe I am alone. Pastor Brady said that gossip somehow satisfies a need of our carnal flesh. I agree. I used to love hearing good and bad news about people I knew well and people I barely knew at all.
But Sunday, I felt a conviction like I never have before to end the gossip, both telling it and listening to it. One of the sweetest girls I have ever met was my college sorority big sister. I never heard her say a negative word about anyone, which seems almost impossible these days. Now, we haven't kept in touch so I'm only basing my assessment of her from when I knew her. But the thing about it was that I never heard anyone say a negative word about her either. Funny how that works.
Truthfully, mostly I gossip to Theo, sometimes my closest friends, and sometimes my parents. I often feel like I need to tell Theo things because it helps me feel better.
Where is the line drawn between gossip and venting? I don't know if I can make that distinction. But on the flip side, if I never got my feelings out and talked to Theo or my close friends, I feel like my insides would probably explode! And Theo often talks to me about things bothering him too.
Mostly I gossip about things that annoy me. When so and so gets on my nerves, when so and so does something I would never do, when so and so is insensitive or hurts my feelings. But when did God appoint me their conscience? When I did become head judge and why is it my place to tell others about this?
Don't get me wrong, I am a trustworth person. If someone, anyone, came to me in confidence, those things I will take to my grave. And even if they tell me not to tell Theo, I don't. I don't want the people I'm close to to feel as if they can't trust me.
But, I have been quick in the past to repeat things I've heard about others from other people. Pastor Brady defined gossip as this: 1) telling the wrong info (half truths, heresay, etc) to anyone (which is obvious to me) and 2) telling the right information to the wrong person. Hmmmm, this was what got me. Who is the wrong person? Anyone that is not part of the solution. Will the person I am gossiping to benefit from what I'm telling them? Could it possibly change how they feel about the person I'm gossiping about? If so, they are the wrong person to share that information with.
I had to have a hard conversation with someone I am close to and ask for forgiveness for some things I've said behind their back in the past. I'm telling you, that was one of the hardest things I have ever had to do! Fortunately, and undeservingly so, that person was very forgiving. But after I hung up the phone, I felt a huge burden lifted off of me. This was something I feel that the enemy had been holding over for a long time and was the cause of a lot of guilt. And now he doesn't have that hold over me. Even though I had already asked for God's forgiveness, I knew I needed to go to this person and ask for their forgiveness as well.
I made a vow on Sunday that I would not gossip about anyone again. Now that is a hard promise to live up to but I know with the help of the Holy Spirit, I can do it! I have been mediating on this verse: "Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouth, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen" (Ephesians 4: 29)and it is helping me keep a guard over my mouth! Now don't get me wrong, I will talk to my husband about things that are bothering me. As a wise woman once told me, in the confines of a marriage, I am one with Theo. There is a higher level of trust and it's a safe place where I should, and do, feel free to speak whatever is on my mind. But I will keep those things between Theo and myself. Anyone else, I just can't do it anymore.
What I need from all of you is to first of all pray for me. Secondly, if I even start to share something that resembles gossip, please stop me! And on the flip side, please don't share things with me that would be considered gossip. If it's not beneficial for me to know it or if I can't help with the problem, I probably shouldn't be hearing it. That my make our conversations very short :) but at least then I will know I am doing the right thing!
17 hours ago