Sunday, June 2, 2013

Sticks and Stones


“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:



32 comments:

  1. You're title makes me think of that little rhyme about sticks and stones. And the truth is words hurt. Gossip hurts. Such a great reminder to not just watch our words but to watch for others who could use words of encouragement.

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    1. I was thinking of that rhyme as I was writing too Wanda... :)
      Thanks for your comment, and (as always!) words of truth and love!

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  2. "It’s so important to associate with people who challenge us to better ourselves physically, mentally, and spiritually." Denise, I wonder if the brotherhood and sisterhood of Christ has spent so much time and energy trying to not offend the world and we've become a part of it and forgotten our home is the kingdom of Heaven, representing our King. Busybody gossip is the ways of the world, not the Lord's way. I'm really going to think about who I associate with and why. We minister to the lost with the ways of God, not be ministered by the lost with the ways of the world. Satan subtle lies distract truth. Great thought-provoking post sister and challenging friend.

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    1. It's true, isn't it? We try awfully hard to be people pleasers, rather than advocates for God and His kingdom. Thanks Brian; blessings! :)

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  3. Amen and thank you! When gossip is amidst, we have to reach out to the gossipers, because they are sick, as we all are.... I like to say, "I know God loves (the name of the one being gossiped about)and I want to learn to see her/him through HIS eyes. Not only does this change your view about the gossiper and the person being gossiped about, it tends to touch the hearts and ears of those around you. They can see that you are striving to control your tongue and they will want to do the same. Of course, some will just hate you and begin gossiping about you, too. HE didn't promise it would be easy, but HE did promise that HE would be in the midst of those who love HIM. Blessings!

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    1. I try and keep that in my thoughts too Cynthia when I am about to think or maybe even say an unthoughtful word; it's a wonderful way to stay accountable for our thoughts and actions! Thanks for your inspiring comments that are always a blessing my friend! :)

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  4. We all need to the reminder to guard our mouths. Thank you for sharing at The Weekend Brew!

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    1. Always my pleasure Barbie! Blessings!

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  5. Hi Denise, I love the part that says we need to fill our minds with the good stuff so we won't focus on or be tempted by the bad stuff, to say or see such stuff. It is much better to fill our hearts, minds, ears and eyes with God stuff.
    Great post my friend
    God bless
    Tracy

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    1. Thanks my sweet friend; thankful for His Word, all the "good stuff" and inspiring family and friends in my life to keep me accountable! :) Blessings Tracy!

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  6. I knew a woman once, who formed her prayer request into what sounded like gossip to me. It taught me to use care even in asking someone to agree with me in prayer. It is best to not describe the entire situation as this can cause harm. Yes, kind words that lift up a person can heal. Negative words tear down. What so ever is true, pure kind and just use those words. Thank you for stopping by and leaving your comment on my "sermon" post.

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    1. Gossip and unkind words can certainly present themselves in even those situations; so sad! Thanks Hazel; have a blessed week!

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  7. Wow Denise...this is powerful. In a world of brokeness and broken people, dont we want to be an agent used by God to build up, strengthen and encourage. You are a blessing to you readers and glorfy the Lord

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    1. Aw; thanks Susan! Love what you said; we are an agent of God to encourage and not tear down! Hugs and blessings!

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  8. Thank you! Very nice blog. My mother - in - law still gossiping about me. She pulls me down. I have to be careful that I not speak evil about her. Do you understand my broken english? I pray that I feel sorry for her. Sometimes I'm angry. Because I can not protect meselves against gossip. It is invisible evil.

    Thanks for the wise lesson. I will my mind fill wit Jesus.

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    1. I have no problems with your English my sweet friend; your comments are always a blessing! I am sorry to hear about your mother-in-law, but you certainly have the right idea on how to handle the situation. Through you she might change and her heart may soften. :)

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  9. Dear Denise
    Oh, this is so true. Even when someone does wrong and we need to talk to them about it, it should be done with so much gentleness and love that I don't think we would be able to do that on our own. We need to abide in our Lord Jesus to allow Him to live His life of love in and through us! Thanks for this reminder.
    Much love and sweet blessings.
    Mia

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    1. It is something I try and practice daily-remembering to love like Jesus helps me to respond with love, patience, and encouragement! :) Smiles Mia!

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  10. I am learning about the blessings of encouraging others. I'm a bit of a glass half-empty person and don't give praise or encouragement easily. It has to be really worth commenting on for me to naturally speak about it!

    It's one of my current goals to be more encouraging. To lavish compliments, praise and build people up.

    There is great wisdom here. Thanks so much for sharing. Linked here from Wholehearted Home. Blessings.

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    1. It isn't always easy, but once you put it into practice you (and the recipient) will be so blessed! :) Thanks for visiting; blessings and hugs! :)

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  11. Hi Denise,

    This post is a perfect reminder about the damage that idle gossip will always create. It is also a good example of how to handle this unfortunate part of human nature that we will encounter wherever we go!
    I have used that proverb about speaking too many words as a basis for how to resist the temptation to go beyond what a good response is...and venture into idle empty words that serve no other purpose but to erase anything good that may have been said previously...not easy for me!
    I have also told people that, people who gossip to them will also gossip about them too...very true!
    ~Blessings and love, ((hugs))~ Lisa

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    1. I know what you mean about idle empty words; I find myself rambling sometimes too! I only hope and pray that even then my words encourage and don't tear down....always a work in progress! :)

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  12. So true my friend!! It amazes me how many Believers do this on a consistent basis. Ephesians 4:29 is one of my favorite verses. We must always be mindful of how our words affect others. I also love Philippians 1:9-11, especially 10b..."that we may be sincere and without offense till the day of Christ". Thanks for sharing Denise and thanks for linking up today! Have a blessed rest of your week lady!

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    1. I think as believers, we feel it the most. And it hurts especially when our words hurt, rather than encourage. Thanks Michell; always love what you have to say! Blessings!

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  13. Gossip is something we all deal with in some form. You are so correct that we need to avoid those that excel in gossip. We just all need to remember that we tend to hear when others are doing it, but not when we are doing it.

    Visiting with DYWW

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    1. Very true; thanks for sharing Betty, and for the visit! Blessings!

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  14. Well said and encouraging Denise. Thank you for sharing. Blessings and hugs my friend.

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    1. Much love and hugs back to you Grace! :)

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  15. Hi Denise,
    I think back to my childhood and remember the people I hurt with the words I said, on purpose. Some I caused deep pain. I do not even know where they are today to apologize to them. I think, "how could I have been so stupid?" I hate what I have done. Sometimes out of anger, we all say things which hurts others. Looking back, I cannot think of one time where my hurtful words actually helped me in any way. But on the other hand, the encouraging and helpful things I spoke to people brought a blessing to my soul every time.
    Thank you for sharing this most important message and may God bless you,
    Ken

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    1. I can remember (way too many times) that I have said things I wish I could take back; wish I would have handled differently too Ken. Many times I had the opportunity to apologize, but many times I did not. Thanks my friend for sharing! God's blessings to you too!

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  16. GOd is love. Thanks for drenching me in encouragement.

    Delighted to meet you today. I hope you don't mind if I splash around a bit to get to know you. This looks like a refreshing place to dip into goodness.

    Splashin.
    Sarah

    http://justsarahdawn.blogspot.com/2013/06/on-daddys-toes.html

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  17. I always like visiting you!! I always feel so encouraged. I especially liked what you shared about the sisterhood lifting each other up (not exact words) and really think that is the sweetest thing when that happens. I often see that happening between blogs.

    Thanks for sharing this over at WholeHearted Home this past week, Denise.

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