by Buzz Dahlen
I received this little story in my e-mail box this past week. I thought it might be a good one to share with you… Sarah, the church gossip and self-appointed arbiter of the church's morals, kept sticking her nose into other people's business. Members were unappreciative of her activities, but feared her enough to maintain their silence. She made a mistake, however, when she accused Henry, a new member, of being an alcoholic after she saw his pickup truck parked in front of the town's only bar one afternoon. She commented to Henry and others that everyone seeing it there would know what he was doing. Henry, a man of few words, stared at her for a moment and just walked away. He didn't explain, defend, or deny, he said nothing. Later that evening, Henry quietly parked his pickup in front of Sarah’s house… and left it there all night.
It is often said about small towns that everyone knows everybody’s business. I think that this kind of knowledge is seldom, if ever correct. There are things you know, things you wish you knew, things you don’t want to know, sometimes things you wish you didn’t know and most of the time, things you think you know. “They” say that knowledge is power and people use it to feel powerful. We withhold information in order to have control over others. We barter information to win the favor of others. Well folks, what you think you know, may not be so. So, it is important that you are not to quick to tell others what you think you know.
The writer of Proverbs has a few things to share on the subject…
A gossip betrays a confidence, but a trustworthy man keeps a secret. 11:13
A perverse man stirs up dissension, and a gossip separates close friends. 16:28
A gossip betrays a confidence; so avoid a man who talks too much. 20:19
As charcoal to embers and as wood to fire, so is a quarrelsome man for kindling strife. The words of a gossip are like choice morsels; they go down to a man's inmost parts. Like a coating of glaze over earthenware are fervent lips with an evil heart. A malicious man disguises himself with his lips, but in his heart he harbors deceit. Though his speech is charming, do not believe him, for seven abominations fill his heart. His malice may be concealed by deception, but his wickedness will be exposed in the assembly. If a man digs a pit, he will fall into it; if a man rolls a stone, it will roll back on him. A lying tongue hates those it hurts, and a flattering mouth works ruin. 26:21-28
It is almost regarded as cheap entertainment when we talk about others. In many ways it makes a person feel more powerful when they are able to talk about others. But understand that there is nothing powerful about someone who would talk negatively about another. In fact that person is anything but powerful. A gossip is a weak person, plain and simple.
Okay, I will get off my high horse. I am in no position to talk, certainly no place to judge others. I have failed in this area. So I do not talk down to anyone today. I want to encourage you to consider making a commitment to speak the truth in love. I want to challenge us all to be encouragers not discouragers. Let’s build up rather then tear down each other.
James writes: The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole person, sets the whole course of his life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell. 3:6
My mom used to always say; “If you can’t say something nice about someone, don’t say anything at all.”