“Let’s do lunch today. I’ve got to tell you what so and so did…”
“Well that’s not what I heard…”
These statements here represent small examples of a gossip trap. There is also the delightful magazine headlines at the grocery checkout. Why do I love to read silly headlines about celebrities?! As damaging as gossip is, it still sells. It’s juicy and delicious and people want it. Says so in the bible…
The words of a gossip are like choice morsels; they go down to a man’s inmost parts –Proverbs 26:22
Our Elmwood ladies gathered on August 3rd to bring the topic of Gossip into the light of God’s word. Here’s a recap…
1) Gossip reveals a desire for Power and Influence
There is a certain amount of satisfaction that we get when we know something that few people know. How wonderful it feels to be included. To be important enough to know. It’s hard to keep that to ourselves. We want all our friends to know just how important we are. “Let me tell you how it all went down. Step right up and get the facts here… or at least what my friend told me.”
We like to be the informant of people’s life events, some of which are private. At the heart of this mess of gossip is a prideful arrogance and desperate need of importance. I confess to feeling the rush of being part of the gossip. Being “in the know” feels good. I have felt like one of the cool girls in an inner circle of social knowledge. I have also been consumed by these experiences too. If you were ever wondering where you can find drama’s address, it’s here on Gossip St. Who knows what, who said what exactly and how did it get twisted. Whose feelings are hurt and who is the jerk. At this age I can still feel left out if I wasn’t invited or told or included but many times I see that all I missed out on was a lot of drama and nonsense. This is real ladies and I pray that you and me can recognize this tendency in our relationships and commit to start finding our ego strength in the God who made us uniquely important for His own special purposes.
2) Gossip is Divisive
A troublemaker plants seeds of strife; gossip separates the best of friends. –Proverbs 16:28
I’ve witnessed families and friendships torn apart by someone spreading negative ideas and information about a person. Pitting siblings against one another. Driving wedges between spouses. Creating dissention in the ranks at the workplace and planting seeds of doubt. It comes to us naturally. We get mad and we want to vent. We want to draw others to us and away from the offender. Have you ever been offended by someone, had a misunderstanding of sorts? Then in a socially weak moment just rant on about what that person did, forever singeing this negative information in the minds of your hearers. Never mind that you got over it a week later. The gossip lives on. Like trying to put feathers back on a plucked chicken on a windy day, so you will never be able to fix the far reaches of damaging words. I like to think that most people are very smart and will say to themselves, “You know, that does sound pretty bad. But despite this unfortunate news, I’m not going to let it jade my opinions about the other.” But many are not. It is here that we would all be better off to just speak openly with the person we have an issue with, not talk to everybody else about them.
Answer this: Do you think a person would be more upset if you came to speak to them about the problem directly or if they found out that you spoke to everybody else about it?
So what can we do?
A gossip betrays a confidence, but a trustworthy man keeps a secret. –Proverbs 11:13
When a friend comes to you with damaging news about someone. Take it as they are looking for advice on how to handle it. Or that they just need to take a load off. Then let it stop with you. Say that you will pray about this. Handle it vertically with God. Not horizontally by telling more people about it.
Without wood a fire goes out; without gossip a quarrel dies down. –Proverbs 26:20
I have been reading Laura Ingalls Wilder’s books to my kids. Laura quotes her mothers wisdom…“Least said soonest mended”. A testament to Proverbs 26:20.
Even truthful words can be damaging so choose wisely where and when you use them. Here’s another great Caroline Ingalls quote.
So we watch what we say and to whom.
We encourage our kids to think the best of one another. We use our words to unite, not cause division. As women, sisters, mothers, grandmothers and aunts we have such an incredible influence. We are in such a prime situation to bring our families together. Yet many times we do the opposite. We don’t think the best about others, we assume the worst. Without addressing the issue directly we assume they meant to hurt. Women ALL OF US struggle with this issue so much. It is here in this dark underworld of gossip that we need to be women who shine the light of understanding. Who walk away from that juicy morsel knowing that it is laced with heartache.
Lets take Hebrews 10:24 to heart today…”And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds.”
Lets love one another they way our Savior does. Let’s do our best to put others in the best light.
Assignment: When is the last time you gave a grown woman a compliment. A sincere complement. Do this. Tell her what you notice about her and how great it is. Watch her. She may look down bashfully. That’s only because it’s been a while since someone noticed her. She may brighten…and the whole room will brighten with her!
God bless you ladies! I will see you tomorrow night (Mon. the 24th) at Alicia’s house! Well talk about difficulties following our husband’s leadership.
I am the Lord, the God of all mankind. Is anything too hard for me?
I have been pleasantly packing up my little home. Boxes filled and sealed. Destined to be opened in a new strange place. A place that will soon be our home as we begin to fill it with our presence – for that is what home is.
The afternoon of March 29th Jeff and I set eyes on this old house for the first time. Like some eternal nurturer always looking for a broken or wounded soul to heal, so Jeff and I tend to be that way with old broken down and tossed aside things on the brink of death. Whether it is an old rusty bucket like the one I just resuscitated last week or a piece of furniture by the curb on trash day. We see not the trash heap it is, but what it once was. What it can still be. We have a vision of “new life” for things others would put in a grave. So it is with this old school house.
We came early that day to snoop around before our realtor arrived to unlock the house. We enjoyed guessing the purpose of each out-building and deciding right there how we would use it. We knelt down and prayed in the driveway. Asking the Lord to make a way for us to be the new care takers of this lonely place. Our realtor arrives. She struggles with the lock. The door opens and we look, we see, we imagine…we plan.
With Jeff armed with all the capabilities of a construction crew and me (as I’m told) the patience of a saint – we know we could take on this patient. Though dirty, violated in some areas and slightly ill equipped to shelter our family, we knew we could provide the care that was necessary to bring her back to life.
I snooped through every door. Like a curious kid wondering where it would lead. One door took me into the bathroom. As my head ducked under old dusty spider webs I turned to look in the mirror. There I found a treasure. On a yellow post-it note was a bible verse written with a woman’s hand, stuck to the mirror and left behind.
I snatched it down. Who was this woman? Our realtor spoke of rumors of divorse. I knew we were looking at a property in a foreclosed status. These walls could tell of hard times for sure. Like scanning a crime scene and trying to put the pieces together I looked for evidence that told their story. A teenage girl once roomed here. They had a moving sale. Unwanted items were simply left for the next occupants. I wondered how they were all getting along now. Had their wounds healed? I will never know.
But I do know this – that nothing is too hard for the Lord! The Lord explained to Jeremiah in Jeremiah chapter 32 that He was about to hand the city over to the Babylonians – to destroy it and burn the houses down. His people had ignored Him and turned away from the One True God. They were in trouble and their lives were falling apart. The Lord allowed the Babylonians to come in and destroy it. He intended to show them just what life would be like for them, without Him. And it was a nightmare. But our Good God would not allow that to be the end.
In Jeremiah 32:37-39 the Lord says that He would also restore it and bring it back to life. “…I will surely gather them from all the lands where I banish them … I will bring them back to this place and let them live safely. They will be my people, and I will be their God. I will give them singleness of heart and action, so that they will always fear me for their own good and the good of their children after them…”
I have also turned from God and His tender care. Each time, He never withheld the sure consequences of living in such disregard to His goodness and mercy. When my life would cease to worship Him he showed me exactly where that would lead – an exile of sorts. But He always welcomed me back when my heart returned to Him. He would not shame me nor allow me to live in the disgrace I deserved.
This is the God that Jeff and I worship. He loves to make things new – to breath new life into something on the brink of death. The Lord has done that in our marriage when it was destined for the trash heap. A bond so broken by sin and selfishness that only the Lord could bring us back with a singleness of heart and action…for our good and the good of our children. Nothing is too hard for the Lord!
This is so much more than fixing up a house. Anyone can come in and do what Jeff and I are doing- the painting, cleaning and repairs. It would be all for nothing if we didn’t love the Lord. Because He is the one that breathes the breath of life into our souls. It is His presence that makes this broken house a home!
pray with me
Oh Lord, you are so good to us. Thank you for stretching out your arm to us. Restore our hearts. Make them new. Breath life into our homes. Give us the singleness of heart and action that we long for. For our good and the good of our children. -Amen.
think with me
When have you found something or someone that you thought was beyond repair? Sometimes you see someone so ravaged by selfishness that you think there is no hope for them. Do you find it hard to have compassion and mercy for those in need of the Lord?
Take some time and think about what God has made new in your life. What has he rescued you from?
It’s one thing to put some screws into an old shaky chair. It’s an entirely different thing all together when you find a broken person. Only God can see into their broken places and apply the healing touch of a creator.
He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds. –Psalm 147:3
I’m a picker. It is not uncommon to see me hovered over any of my family members looking for a pimple to pop. Evolutionist could try to use me as evidence that we evolved from monkeys! My dear Fiona has inherited her mom’s grooming habits. She loves to pick off her rough, scaly scabs. And when she does they start bleeding all over again, exposing a wound that has not fully healed. I have warned her so many times…
“Fiona, if you don’t leave that alone it will never heal. The scab helps it heal and every time you pick it open you have to start that healing process over.”
Sometimes I am so struck by the things that come out of my mouth to my kids.
You see, I can get to picking at scabs too. Not the kind of road rash scabs from falling off a scooter but the kind of scabs from hurt feelings. A cut from some harsh words. Or the scrape of a cold shoulder. A bruise of betrayal.
It’s good to talk things out. We need to process painful events, get things off our chest. We forgive. And then we live.
But later on something reminds us and we look down and see the scab. We get to thinking about how it got there. Then we start talking about it, reliving a painful event that has left a mark on our heart and mind exposing a wound that had not fully healed and the blood beings to ooze out again.
Wait, I thought I had settled this issue! I thought I had already resolved this! Why am I reliving this all over again? That was so long ago…
Its time to apply some more balm, cover it and give it some more time. Soon the scab forms again and the wound can begin to heal back. My little girl is learning to leave her scabs alone and let her body do its thing. I remind her…
“Honey, the more you pick on that scab the worse the scar will be.”
…Next time a word about scars.
Allow these scriptures to encourage you
“Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland.” -Isaiah 43:18-19
“Do not be afraid; you will not suffer shame. Do not fear disgrace; you will not be humiliated. You will forget the shame of your youth…” -Isaiah 54:4
…But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead. -Philippians 3:13
think with me
Here is a new word I learned… recrudesce (re-kroo-des´) v. – to become raw again, worse, bloody.
So here’s to not rehashing past events. Here’s to not dragging people through “court” again after the matter has been settled. And here is to making new memories!
pray with me
Dear Lord, we are so thankful that you hear our cries when we are hurting. Please help us leave our “scabs” alone so that they can heal. Let the healing balm of forgiveness cover over anything that we scrape off. Help us to be understanding to other peoples wounds and always encourage them toward healing and not scaring. In Your Name we pray Lord Jesus – Amen.
Come to the “Brave” Ladies Retreat April 25-27
I’ll be teaching a workshop called Stop Shoulding On Yourself.
So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed. –John 8:36
We all watched the movie Frozen at home together. The kids had seen it with Grandma and Grandpa already and did what their mom has taught them best—quoted movie lines!
The kids favorite character?…Olaf the snowman. “I don’t have a skull. Or bones.” “Watch out for my butt!”
Mom’s favorite character?…Elsa of course! “I don’t care what they’re going say!…Here I stand in the light of day!…”
This has resulted in many a dinner table rendition of the song Let It Go. As well as the various theatrical living room versions put on by the kids and I. So much fun! (and so annoying to Jeff)
Seriously, that scene where Elsa throws ice and builds her frozen fortress while singing her heart out is so moving (never mind the eternal winter mishap). Finally she didn’t have hold back any more and could just be herself. No more “conceal, don’t feel, don’t let it show”. Didn’t you just love how happy and free this beautiful character was!
What was holding her back? Why couldn’t she be free? She had always carried this load of guilt around for injuring her sister as a child. It kept her locked in her castle and left her sister alone. Guilt will do that to a person. It is like locking yourself in a cage. The shame that we feel will cause us to hold back and not feel the freedom of just being comfortable in our own skin. So what takes away the guilt? What makes us free? Well if I had it my way, I would have marched into that animated movie and introduced Elsa to Jesus!
You messed up bad. You feel really bad but the damage is done. You take your place on the bench and watch the game from the sidelines. Then Jesus comes in. He’s not afraid to be seen talking to you. He’s confused as to why you are not playing.
“Jesus, you don’t understand what I did. Now I can’t play my part. “
Jesus smiles and says, “Well I own this team and I say you are forgiven. Now get out there and play the position I made you to play.”
“But what about the other players? What will they think?”
“Does it matter? I have the ultimate authority here and I say you are forgiven!”
Let these scriptures encourage your heart today.
It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened by a yoke of slavery. –Galatians 5:1
Fear of man will prove to be a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord is kept safe. –Proverbs 29:25
You turned my wailing into dancing; you removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy, that my heart may sing to you and not be silent. –Psalm 30:11-12
If you are weighed down by guilt don’t go another day without making it right. You must come out into the light. And when you do Jesus will cover you with His forgiveness and clothe you in His righteousness. No more shame. Just you… set free!
Come to the “Brave” Ladies Retreat April 25-27
I’ll be teaching a workshop called Stop Shoulding On Yourself.
Click here Brave Poster to view the details.
When I kept silent,
my bones wasted away…
…Then I acknowleged my sin to you
and did not cover up my iniquity.
I said, “I will confess
my transgressions to the Lord”—
and you forgave
the guilt of my sin. Psalm 32:3-5