Do you enjoy hearing morsels of gossip?
Do you repeat conversations disclosed to you in confidence?
Do you preface tale telling with “we need to pray for sister so and so” because she is really going through?
If so, we should pray as King David prayed in Psalm 141: 3 “Set a guard over my mouth, Lord; keep watch over the door of my lips. Do not let my heart be drawn to what is evil so that I take part in wicked deeds along with those who are evildoers; do not let me eat their delicacies.”
A mentor of mine told me many, many years ago that he didn’t say anything if he didn’t have anything good to say about a person. Me and my friends were young, naïve and had something to say about every person and situation back then. One day we were gabbing as usual and I noticed Tommy smiling but not joining in the conversation.
I asked, “What do you think, Tommy?”
That’s when he made the provocative statement that caused me to look inside and decide I would practice the same philosophy – keep my mouth shut if I didn’t have something good to say.
Granted, it took many more years for me to get to the point of ‘keeping my big mouth shut.’ But I’ve asked God, as King David, to help me keep watch over the door of my lips so that I will not be drawn into gossip, murmuring or complaining.
I remember a former pastor teaching on gossip one Sunday. He gave us three questions to ask the tale bearer before getting involved in the discussion.
- What does this have to do with me?
- How will this discussion benefit the individual?
- Have you discussed this with the person?
I started asking myself those three questions whenever one of my friends came to me with ‘juicy’ gossip. I didn’t have to ask my friends after I answered them for myself. If the topic had nothing to do with me; I could not ascertain how it would benefit the person by us talking about it; and I had not discussed it with the individual so I said I wasn’t comfortable discussing the subject and changed the topic.
I remember trying to ‘chase’ down gossip when I was in my twenties. I discovered the folly of my effort. My goal was to find the teller of the rumor by talking to everyone involved in passing the story along. The more people I talked to the more the tale changed. By the time I had tracked down the fourth person, went to her house to ask about the lie, I realized that I would never get to the truth of who started the chinwag.
That’s crazy, isn’t it? I was so determined to find out who had the audacity to tell a fib about me that I had the nerve to go to my acquaintances homes to question them.
Thank God that I’ve matured. I’m no longer drinking milk but eating meat now. I’ve learned that we should control our tongues because it is a ‘fire starter.’ I try to let my ‘yea’ mean ‘yea,’ my ‘nay’ mean ‘nay’ and remember it is what comes out of a man/woman that defiles and dishonors him/her.
It is not what goes into the mouth of a man that defiles and dishonors him, but what comes out of the mouth, this defiles and dishonors him.” Matthew 15:11 AMP