We have all been in a position where we have said a little too much. We have given away information about something that is not our business, or maybe we have asked our friends to pray for that one friend who is "really needing the Lord." Truth is, sometimes we leave a conversation feeling gross or icky and we ask ourselves, "Did I just gossip?" **GASP** Yes ladies and gents, we are talking about the G word today. That little word that everyone avoids, but in reality everyone does, whether blatantly or subtly. Everyone gossips, and if they say they don't (just like my inner voice is currently trying very hard to convince me of), you might want to buckle your seatbelts, cause it's about to get real today. Even now as I type these words I feel a little voice in my head saying, "I don't gossip! I have listened to others gossiping but I don't do that! Not me, I'm too kind-hearted for that..." Sound familiar? Truth is, whether you are the person handing out information that is not yours to give, or you are the person listening to this piece of news that someone is giving you behind someone else's back, it's gossip.
Why does it feel so good to be given a juicy new piece of information!? Why do we feel "satisfied" when we know all of the information in the world!? The Bible gives us some insight in Proverbs 18:8 :
"The words of gossip are like choice morsels; they go down to a man's inmost parts."
In another translation, it calls gossip, "cheap candy," it satisfies you for a moment, but at the end of the day it makes you feel like junk! So why do we do it? Cue the dramatic music in the movies and imagine me falling to my knees yelling, "WHYYYYYYYY?!" I believe that the reason gossip feels "so good" is because it makes us feel a few things about ourselves. It makes us feel powerful, important, needed, and special. Whether we want to admit it, gossip, or being a part of it, makes you feel good about yourself.
In the second part of this verse, it says that the words go down to a man or woman's inmost parts. Now, this is not talking about your stomach, but your heart and your soul. Think about this. When you hear a piece of information not about you or the person telling it to you, where does it go? It goes into your heart where it is then stored away, sitting there like a little bit of poison that festers day by day. Kind of dramatic maybe? Let me explain. When you hear gossip, it gets stored away in your heart like a file in a filing cabinet. It sits there, and sadly, if not taken to God or to the person it is about, this piece of information will inevitably change how you think, treat, and feel about that person. Do you see how damaging that could be to relationships?
Proverbs warns us MULTIPLE times that gossip, and what comes out of our mouths is important to keep a watch over. Proverbs 18:7 says:
"A fool's mouth is his undoing, and his lips are a snare to his soul."
Long story short, gossip is very real, and we all do it. But the good news is that our God is also real and there is healing and restoration that can be found in Him. God sent his son Jesus down to this earth to die for us and carry the weight of our sins to put them to death once and for all! If you read this today and felt burdened or felt a weight on you, talk to God about it, repent, and ask him to lift it off you! Son and daughter of God...your Father wants nothing more than to see you be whole, and healed, and receiving the love that He has for you! His love and grace are free for all, but it doesn't just end there; God also calls us to examine and probe our ways, and to stop living in the old ways of life and live in the new life and promises that He has for us. As Dietrich Bonhoeffer wrote:
"Such grace is costly because it calls us to follow, and it is grace because it calls us to follow Jesus Christ. It is costly because it costs a [person their] life, and it is grace because it gives a [person] the only true life."
So my challenges to us all today are these:
1. Examine your heart and chat with God about it. Ask Him to reveal to you what is in your heart and through that conversation with the Lord, restoration can begin.
Ask Him for healing in areas of your heart that maybe you didn't know needed healing. Ask Him for forgiveness and thank Him for all he has blessed you with.
2. Proverbs 10:11 speaks about how your words have the potential to bring life, or to bring death. Which will you choose? If you had 5 minutes to just sit down and replay all the conversations you had yesterday, did your words end up bringing life or death? Did your words encourage and uplift someone, or did they bring them down?
Take it from me...this conversation with God is not easy, nor is it always pleasant, but He always reveals and always shows us what is broken within so that it can be healed. You are not alone and never will be, please be encouraged in that today. We all struggle with this, but with help and through confession to one another as it says in James 4, we can find true healing.
Father, I thank you today for all the blessings you have given me. I thank you Father that you care about my heart, and you care about my spirit. I thank you Father that you sent your Spirit to be my friend and guide and to challenge me in areas that I need to be challenged in. Father I lift up my heart to you, and I pray Lord that you please begin to change my heart and help me to be more aware of my words and actions towards others. Father remind me of your love and grace for me and continue to guide my steps to be more like your son. I thank you for Jesus who you sent to bear the weight of my sins. I pray the prayer from Psalm 141 Lord, Set a guard over my mouth, Lord; keep watch over the door of my lips. Watch over me God, and be with me always. In Jesus' name, Amen.