“Besides that, they learn to be idlers, going about from house to house, and not only idlers, but also gossips and busybodies, saying what they should not.” (l Timothy 5:13 ESV)
I am sure you run into them every day; family, friends, co-workers, and even an acquaintance at church who is gossiping or starting a gossip. They will try to persuade you to believe in or act upon the rumors they have heard and are attempting to spread. And some people are like a magnet that draws attention to these rambling busybodies; maybe it makes them feel like part of the group, or more powerful, or maybe it makes them the center of attention. But what they really don’t know is that whoever is gossiping to them is probably gossiping about them! We see it going on around us almost every single day; and it’s easy to see what a tragic waste it is because nothing of value is ever really accomplished, and the damage that such negative remarks can make can never be fully repaired. Whoever said that “sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me”, may or may not have been on the receiving end, but I know from experience that words can be very painful!
In “One Minute of Praise” Darlene McCarty writes, “How do you fix your thoughts? You guard your eyes from unclean sight. You guard your ears from verbal garbage. You allow only good things to occupy your mind or come out of your mouth.”
It’s so important to associate with people who challenge us to better ourselves physically, mentally, and spiritually rather than with those who spend time and energy on petty gossip in an attempt to destroy others. We shouldn’t be looking for garbage, and if we do hear it we shouldn’t believe it. It’s painful when someone we look up to hurts us by idle chit chat and gossip, but it’s even more painful when we unintentionally hurt someone who looks up to us! If we really want to avoid gossip, we need to let the gossip end with us instead of participating in it.
“Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.” (Ephesians 4:29 NIV)
When we encourage one another, saying encouraging words to other people's hearts, we have a much greater effect than when we criticize. I wonder how other’s see us; not only in the workplace but in our everyday environment. Do they see us as peacemakers who encourage, love, and want to help build others up? (That’s how I would love people to “gossip” about me!) You and I are called to build up and strengthen one another, and we must continue to study and be filled with the Word of God so that we can see people as individuals who need to be built up. It is important that we, as a sisterhood, learn what it takes to help strengthen each other. In our busy hurried up lives, we often don’t even take notice of the people around us who are broken, weak and discouraged, much less acknowledge or seek to understand them. God instructs us to take the time to notice, to consider, to understand and appreciate the people around us with a loving and compassionate spirit. We need to continuously seek ways in which we can encourage one another as God encourages us; He has made it our responsibility to foster the well-being of each other, not tear each other down!
“Let’s see how inventive we can be in encouraging love and helping out, not avoiding worshiping together as some do but spurring each other on…(Hebrews 10:24-25 MSG)
Linking up this week with: