Monday, July 20, 2009

The Sin of Gossip ~Part Two

“Don’t be the Devil’s bellows any longer to blow up the fires of strife. Leave off setting people by the ears. If you do not cut off a bit of your tongues, at least season them with the salt of grace. Praise God more and blame neighbors less. Any goose can cackle; any fly can find out a sore place; any empty barrel can give forth sound; any brier can tear a man’s flesh. No flies will go down your throat if you keep your mouth shut and no evil speaking will come up. Think much, but say little; be quick at work and slow at talk; and above all, ask the great Lord to set a watch over your lips.”

~Charles Spurgeon

A few suggestions on how to handle gossip:
~Keep quiet. You don't always have to be the one talking. Ever heard that phrase, "If you can't say something nice, don't say it at all"? Well, here's where you get to apply it. Holding your tongue is a valuable tool for anyone to acquire.
~Leave the conversation. Nothing will end that conversation quicker than stepping away from it. Don't listen to gossip.

~Don't consider it your mission in life to warn the world about everyone else. Sounds silly but it is true that we can be so busy with other people's lives instead of our own.
~You don't always have to pray for someone else in a group. Prayer is not effectual just because you're in a group setting. If you truly have a burden for someone, pray for them by yourself.
~You don't always have to answer questions about another person. The answer could very well be gossip.

~Don't always share your pain and feelings. The world cries out to us in a loud voice, "Tell me how you feel! I can fix the symptoms!" and "Just follow your heart!". Sadly, sometimes we listen to that voice. But the world can only temporarily fix our symptoms. The problem still lies within and only Jesus Christ, by His saving grace, can fix that. Also, if we know the heart to be "deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it?", then why follow it? Follow, instead, the One who created you.

When you run into gossip, either yourself doing the gossiping or someone else, think about and ask these things:

~"Have you gone to them to speak privately about this?"
~"If so-and-so knew you were talking about them like this, wouldn't they be hurt?"
~"You know, I'm feeling uncomfortable with this conversation."
~ Vigilance is required because you will be challenged in your heart and by your fellow church member or friend.

Part of this is knowing when to speak, what is appropriate to say, and when to listen. Jasmine wrote a post a while back about having a gentle and quiet spirit, and she state three important questions we should ask ourselves before we speak, "Is it kind? Is it true? And is it necessary?".

But this isn't just about holding your tongue and not gossiping. It's so much more than that! It's remembering that we are ambassadors for Christ when we speak. Remembering who we are and who we represent. We should gladly and consistently speak for Him and His glory. Boldly proclaim the Gospel but be self-controlled when we speak.

Paul states it beautifully when he says in Ephesians 4:29-5:2,

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. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you. Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children. And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.

Consider this question: what are the thoughts and meditations of your heart? What are you filling your heart with? This is the key to speaking for the glory of God. If we fill our hearts with every good perfect thing that can only come from God, then our words, among other things, will show a pattern of that.

As Psalm 139 says,

Search me, O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts! And see if there be any grievous way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting!

Finally, repentance is required for past and perhaps, present sin of gossip. Gossip is a hard thing to deal with; it is hurtful to the body of Christ. But remember that there is forgiveness at the Cross. We serve a God who forgives His children.

In Christ,

Micaela

3 comments:

SarahJayne said...

I just found your blog, and these two posts were both convicting and encouraging to me. Thanks so much for passing on the teaching you have received! I will be watching what I say much more closely now...

Micaela said...

Sarah Jayne,

thanks for commenting! I'm glad to see that someone out there is reading our blog :-).
I tend to speak before I think and so, learning about gossip was very beneficial for me. I'm thankful that you found it encouraging and convicting as well.
How did you find our blog and do you have a blog?

In Christ,
Micaela

SarahJayne said...

Micaela -
I found your blog because I was reading Jasmine Baucham's blog and the comments...saw your profile and that your blog was called "The Pickwick Portfolio" and I couldn't resist looking at it! :)
I have a blog on my shutterfly site (there is a link on my profile), but not with google.
Blessings!
~Sarah Jayne

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