Tuesday, August 6, 2013

The Heart of a Homemaker | Not Malicious Gossips

Taken and edited from the original post written on July 28, 2009.

Titus 2:3 "Older women likewise are to be reverent in their behavior, not malicious gossips...."

Oooooh. How did Paul know that women like to talk? Probably because God inspired him to write the book of Titus and God knows us women very well.

The definition of the word malicious is having the nature of or resulting from malice; deliberately harmful; spiteful. The funny thing is that the example used for the word was malicious gossip. The online dictionary I used (dictionary.com) actually had a definition for malicious gossip- disgraceful gossip about the private lives of other people. The word gossip had eight definitons. The first being the obvious: idle talk or rumor, especially about the personal or private affairs of others. Definition #6 made me chuckle a bit: a friend, especially a woman.

Oh, but we don't gossip! We share information for the sake of letting others know what a friend needs prayer for! But if that friend were to walk in on our conversation, we would stop talking immediately. After all, she doesn't need to know that we are praying for her, right? How many times do we start out a conversation about some friend or aquaintance with, "Oh, by the way, we need to pray for So-and-So because..." and then we lean in a little closer, perk our ears ever so slightly, break out all of the juicy tidbits that we know, throw in our opinions of how we would have handled their situation, discuss solutions to their problems, or end by thanking God that we are not in their situation?

I, unfortuantely, am not innocent of this. I have had to go to God and to several people to ask for their forgiveness for gossiping about them. And I have also been on the other side, where gossip has been spread about family members, and, believe me, it hurts.

God has shown me several things about gossip in this lesson and in my own life and showing me how, if these principles had been followed, a lot of hurt might have been avoided. No, the principles are not always easy to hear or follow, but they are so rewarding. You and I will not be the cause of someone else's hurt and we will not be hurt either if everyone did what this passage says.
  1. Do not spread information that is not yours to spread. How many times do we hear something and we just want to be the first to spread it? Somehow, we think that it gives us some kind of importance to be the first to have the information to "share". Leave it to the person who the information actually belongs to to share if they choose to. This is where the "prayer request" and the "We need to pray for..." usually comes in. If the person wants prayer concerning a situation they are going through or experiencing, let them be the one to ask for prayer from others. They may not want others knowing about the situation and your "prayer requst" will only spread information, and very little praying will actually be done. If you feel so led to pray, then pray for that person in the quietness of your heart. God will hear it, and it will be much more appreciated by the person.
  2. Do not spread information with the intent of hurting another. The power of words is incomprehendable. Yes, we may hurt someone that we may be trying to get back at, but we are also hurting ourselves. Imagine your words as liquid poison in a bowl. As you splash it around, a bit of it will always splatter back at you. You will end up being covered in the same verbal poison you tried to hurt another with. Proverbs 31:26b says, "...and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue." May we use our words to wrap others in kindness rather than to cut them with our words.
  3. If it does not affect you in any way, or you are not part of the problem or have something to contribute to the solution, it is gossip. We always hear, "Well, if I were her..." Guess what? We are not. It is so easy for us to stand back, out of the situation, and form opinions on what should be done and how it should be done, what we would do and how we would do it, what we would say and how we would say it. But the truth is, unless you walk a mile in the person's shoes, you will never have a complete understanding of what they are experiencing- emotionally, financially, physically, etc. I'm sure a short walk might change our minds very quickly. Rather than telling others outside of the situation a solution you may see or a word that God has shown you, go directly to the person. They will appreciate that you did not spread their hurt or whatever the circumstances are to others, and you may just be an answer to their prayer request.
May we use our words this week to bless others, to wrap them in kindness, and to pray for those we see in need. And, please, God, help us!

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