Thursday, March 22, 2007

"The Mouth Speaks"

Don't indulge in conversation that is harsh, bitter, critical, impatient, crude, vulgar, or unrefined.

A friend of mine and I once agreed that if we didn’t have to speak, or shall I say, couldn’t speak, then our spiritual lives would always honor the Lord. However, God chose to give me a voice. Shouldn’t I honor the Lord with what I speak and say to others?

Christian women from the beginning of times have needed desperately to fight a stereotype….gossip. Most men will tell you that their wives are gossipers, like a child telling you that their parents are nicer in public; husbands are quick to admit that a five minute phone call to her best friend will turn into a two hour gab-fest (otherwise known as “catch-up time”).

In fact, I have certain “friends” that talking to them is nothing but gossip. “What’s going on with her? Who is she with now? She’s marrying who?” Shouldn’t I be asking, “How’s your relationship with the Lord?” If I’m talking to my friend on the phone, shouldn’t I be concerned with her, not someone else?

My pastor tells us how it is (praise the Lord). He said that people, including Christians, love to see people mess up. And he’s right, because instead of me asking about someone so I can pray for them or discussing situations so I can pray, almost always, my #1 motive is DIRT. I want to know the “juicy” stuff.

Not only that, but I have found myself just wanting to “discuss” someone, their behaviors, their life, just to see if someone else agrees with me. “Am I the only one that notices that Sue raises her voice at her husband?” What does that end up accomplishing? Thirty minutes of gossiping on the other times we’ve seen Sue mess up, or her husband. Who prays for her…no one? What am I doing in reality? Possibly causing another Christian to stumble, perhaps they struggle with gossip too. I need be very concerned with the hearer of the conversation (1 Cor. 10:24).

What I learned: First of all, ladies who love the Lord are called to be different (I will say this almost in every post). This means that the things we say have got to be different from the world. Before I say anything and the words are on the tip of my tongue, I should ask myself, does what I’m about to say honor the Lord? If it doesn’t, I shouldn’t say it.

I thank the Lord that He sent the Holy Spirit to convict me, because boy does He ever! Almost always, as soon as I say something, I think, “oh, I shouldn’t have said that!” God’s Word says that “the beginning of strife is like releasing water; therefore stop a contention before a quarrel starts” (Prov. 17:14). That’s the same with our words. Once we start speaking them, they take control. These words that we use can either honor the Lord, or make Him look silly.

I admit, I’m so critical of others, I can be critical of myself too, but I most certainly forgive differently. Example, when I mess up, “oops!” On the contrary, when someone else messes up, “What were they thinking!?!” Of course, when someone messes up I need to talk about it, with someone else….”what was she thinking?”

What to do now? I can never take back what I say to others, but I can work to honor the Lord with my mistake. How?

  1. Ask the Lord to forgive me.
  2. Thank the Lord for the Holy Spirit’s conviction. And pray that I will become more aware of my convictions.
  3. Ask the other person involved directly or indirectly in the conversation for forgiveness. People are watching us, especially waiting for us to mess up. Others often realize that we’ve messed up before we even realize it. I need to humble myself and ask for that person’s forgiveness, which alone will be a great witness to them for Christ. It’s okay to show others that we mess up sometimes. As Christian ladies, we need to be able to tell our Sisters, I have failed the Lord today.
  4. Commit, through prayer and accountability to change the way I speak, weather it’s crudely, negatively, critical, boastful. Constantly talk to the Lord about it, He knows! I think often I underestimate God’s love for me. But God wants us to tell Him what’s going on, even though He already knows. Also, ask close friends to keep me accountable when they hear me saying things that don’t honor the Lord.
  5. Change things around.

Other: “Jane is cheating on her husband, did you know that?”

Me: “We must pray for Jane and her husband.”

Take control of your conversations!

Ladies, let’s be different from the World and stop gossip in its tracks! Whoever said being a lady meant sitting around and gossiping is wrong, being a lady should be about confiding with dear friends through prayer and encouragement.

5 comments:

Mrs. U said...

Goodness gracious!!! This is a GOOD post!!! I definitely need work in this area. It is SOOOO easy to be pulled into a conversation and want to hear a bit of that "juicy stuff". OH HOW MY HEART NEEDS TO CHANGE!! I really appreciate this post!!!

His,
Mrs. U

Candy said...

Hi there, I found your blog from my friend Susan P's blog.
I love this post and will stop by to read more while Im here.
I couldnt agree more. We as Christian women do need to be difefrent than the rest of the world.
I was never a bad gossiper. But still, I did gossip. I wish I never ever did. When you think about it, its such a nasty quality to be a gossiper.
I dont gossip as much as possible. Im still human of course so sadly I still catch myself on occasion. But for the last few years I can honestly say I have been very intentional about not gossiping. Even with my husband. We will now stop each other.
Gossipping for a Christian women, to me is like a lady smoker. I dont like seeing a "lady" smoke! Its so vulgar and gross to me, as is being a gossiper. Not sure why the two relate for me but they do.
I love how you said we should be asking another person "how are you doing in the Lord"...I love this and chuckly because my Dad (he's a pastor) ALWAYS asks people that. I used to hate it when he would ask me or my husband that. But its not a bad thing. I guess just hearing my Dad ask that, always put me on the spot or something.
Anyways, sorry such a long comment.
Have a great day,
Sincerely,
candy

Melissa said...

Candy,

Thanks so much for visiting my blog! I'm so excited to hear from a Christian lady who REALLY loves the Lord! Thanks for sharing your thoughts on gossip. Your relation to ladies who gossip and ladies who smoke are a lot how I see things sometimes, just creates an ugly picture for me.

I do like to remind my readers though, that I don't claim to be gossip-free, or anything else "free". What I do claim is that I do mess up, but thankfully, through Christ's example and the conviction of the Holy Spirit, I am made more aware of my sins.

One thing that you pointed out that I should have included in my blog is that gossip shouldn't be told to anyone, including our spouse, or significant other. It's so easy for me to gossip to my boyfriend or very close friend, but that is so wrong! Thanks for making such an excellent point!

:D

Mandy Grace said...

Hello, thank you for the comment! I love Jane Austen's books, and sometimes I find myself laughing outloud as I read them. I hope you will enjoy her!

Your blog posts are very edifying. We need more bloggers like you who will speak the truth in love. :-)

Kitty said...

Wow, I'm so glad I read this post... I had been thinking I'd pretty much conquered gossiping a couple of years ago when I realized it was a bad habit of mine. BUT I am still doing it, because I tell gossip to my poor husband (who doesn't really want to hear it!!) I have enjoyed reading through your blog very much!!