Have You Heard?

14 Sep

I hear the faint whispers as I sit at my desk longing for the bell to ring.

They gather in a huddle discussing the latest news. 

“Have you heard that so and so said that so and so did such and such?”

I can’t make out their exact words but my seventh grade heart is heavy, certain I must be the topic of the hour.

Gossip.

It breaks hearts. Destroys testimonies. Severs friendships. Creates tension where there shouldn’t be any in the first place.

It may be expected in middle school classrooms but it certainly shouldn’t be as accepted as it is  in the church pew on Sunday morning or on the phone with Sister So and So on Wednesday night after prayer meeting.

Though this specific term is never used in the Bible, it’s a problem dating back to it’s earliest mention in Scripture (and certainly even before then), way back in the book of Leviticus. A problem that has plagued the Church for thousands of years.

  “Thou shalt not go up and down as a talebearer among thy people…”

Leviticus 19:16

If we were commanded not to do it, it is safe to say it’s something we will struggle with. It seems the tongue, though a little member, has been causing BIG problems for longer than any of us can remember. Whether it be lying or even simply the unkindness in our tones, our tongue is nothing but trouble especially when it comes to speaking on and about topics or rather people we have no business speaking about.

The word “talebearer’s” definition was nothing earth-shattering when I took it back to the original text, it simply means to carry tales, but it’s simple definition speaks volumes.

 As Christians, we are commanded to carry something so very precious, and if our hands are full of tales, we can not carry the Gospel as we should be.

Too many times, we share the latest news without even thinking about it. We’re just sure that our dear friend would love to hear it, you know, so she can know how to pray more specifically. In our world not much is kept secret, between Facebook and Twitter and the constant access to technology, anyway, she’s bound to hear it from someone, right? So we might as well.

But as our words slip from our lips, we don’t realize the effect they are already having. While we are finishing our story, our friends thoughts have changed from concern to judgement. What was once an innocent prayer request is now fuel for the fire.

 “Even so the tongue is a little member, and boasteth great things. Behold, how great a matter a little fire kindleth!  And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity: so is the tongue among our members, that it defileth the whole body, and setteth on fire the course of nature…”

James 3:5-6 

Does this mean that sin shouldn’t be called sin? That Christians shouldn’t be accountable to one another? That we shouldn’t be wise and seek to be sure that those we keep company with are living lives pleasing to our Lord?

 Not at all, but it does mean that the job of determining such things is God’s. Yes, it is true that often He will use us, His servants, whether pastors, pastor’s wives, counselors, or Christians who have been at it a long time, to give help and direction to those straying or struggling.  However, it’s in those cases that the information we acquire is to stay between the one being helped and the ear that they’ve sought for counsel.

Our Bible tells us that gossip most often comes from the mouth of a hypocrite.

“An hypocrite with his mouth destroyeth his neighbour…”

 Proverbs 11:9 

And in my experience, it’s us, daughters of Eve, the first woman to allow her words to get her in trouble,  that struggle with it more than the men in our lives.

 “And withal they learn to be idle, wandering about from house to house; and not only idle, but tattlers also and busybodies, speaking things which they ought not.”

 1 Timothy 5:13

The more time we have on our hands, the more likely we are to be “busybodies” concerning ourselves with everyone else’s business but our own.

But when it comes down to it, it is ultimately a heart issue. Our Lord spoke plainly in Luke 6:45:

 “A good man out of the good treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is evil: for of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaketh.” 

Luke 6:45 

Once the Lord reminds us that gossip is wrong and harmful to both the one doing it and the one being gossiped about, what do we do when we are the latter one?

When terrible words that are far from truthful are spoken about us, how should we react?

We’ll address that in tomorrow’s post.

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