Good. Now that that's out of the way, let's get down to business (to defeat the Huns . . .! Sorry, my Disney escaped there for a moment).
How many times have you heard the words "did you hear about . . ." and without even thinking leaned in a little bit closer to get the latest scoop? If I'm being honest, you could find me in this exact senario playing the role of either the news-bearer or the news-receiver multiple times a day.
And I hate it. But it feels so good. Relaying secrets, stirring up drama, and repeating stories that most likely aren't true but will probably gather an audience are all things that I do over and over every.single.day.
What do I gain through mindless chatter and intentional gossip?
Let me play the role of my former math teacher/current cross country coach and answer my own questions here for a moment.
Here's what I gain: temporary satisfaction, attention from others, knowing the latest news, when in awkward situations, something to fill the silence, and the reputation as someone who sticks her nose into other people's beeswax just so she can let the rest of the world know.
Yep, that's my reward for running my mouth and tearing down the reputations of others just to build my own (which by the way, is a lie. How is it even logical that I could conclude that people would think of me as a better person if I babble on and on about others? Answer me that.). Are those things listed as so-called "rewards" worth the feelings and social well-being of a fellow human?
God makes it clear how he feels about gossip. Like extremely Windex-clear. I didn't realize how much God had to say about gossip until a quick google search enlightened me about all that I had been missing.
Take Proverbs 10:18 where we learn that whoever slanders others is a fool.
Or 1 Thessalionians 4:11 where we are told straight up to keep our noses in our own business.
Look at Proverbs 21:23. "Whoever keeps his mouth and his tongue keeps himself out of trouble."
Hmmm, not too, too hard to see what God is trying to get across to us. If you're in need of some more proof, check out Proverbs 16:28, Matthew 12:36, and Exodus 23:1.
None of those concepts are new to me though. I know how God feels about gossip. I've known it for my entire Sunday school life, but that doesn't stop me from mindlessly running my mouth just to be the top dog in the rumor mill.
However, I feel as though God has really convicted me of this lately. I haven't felt the same amount of satisfaction after I passed on some juicy tidbit of information. Instead, I wish that I could take my words back and have everyone forget the pointless speech that I had just poured out of my mouth.
But it doesn't work that way no matter how much that I wish it did.
Remember how I said in my last post that things in my life were going to change? Well, get ready because here comes the change.
To quote Eleanor Roosevelt, "Great minds discuss ideas. Average minds discuss events. Small minds discuss people."
God has blessed me with a mind that can do amazing things. And guess what! If you're reading this, you have a mind too! And your mind came from God whether you believe that or not. He has beautiful plans for each and every one of us. I can bet you that those plans don't include sitting around a table with your best friends, sipping pumpkin spice lattes (because it's fall! Duh!) and talking all about how Laura cheated on Ryan with Morgan's boyfriend, Dan, and now Laura and Morgan aren't friends anymore.
No! His plans for you and me are so much more spectacular than limiting our minds to discussing rumors that no one even knows for sure if they are true.
So I decided to run my own mini version of Jen Hatmaker's experiment Seven. However, instead of physical, material things, I've decided to purge myself of one of the biggest things that distracts me from loving God with all that I have. You guessed it: gossip.
From September 2 - October 2, I am going to work my absolute hardest to keep gossip off of my lips. Instead of gossip, I will replace that mindless chatter with encouragement, heartfelt praise, prayers, and new ideas. If I find that I cannot do that, then I will just stay silent during moments that I am tempted.
In James 3:8, James writes that no human being can tame the tongue for it is a restless evil and full of poison. I have found this to be more true than I would have originally thought. All of my previous attempts to vanquish gossip have crashed and burned. Hard. I will have to learn to call on God and rely on Him to help me get rid of this harmful addiction.
So here's to one month of uplifting, encouraging, and positive talk!