I have a confession to make. It is probably a confession that could easily apply to many a man or woman, Christian or not.
I am a gossip. I am a Negative Nancy. There is a lot of unwholesome talk that comes out of my mouth. And I don’t think that it is any coincidence that at the very time I begin to study a book on the power of words with the women of my church, that I start to feel convicted about the words that come out of my mouth.
Are they used to build up? Not always. Are they wholesome? Nuh-uh. Are they positive? Nope.
I have been asking God this week how I could be intentional about the Lenten season this year, and yesterday he placed the words of Paul in Ephesians 4:29 on my heart. Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.
My gossip and negative words don’t do much benefit to anyone.
Keep your tongue from speaking evil and your lips from telling lies! Psalm 34:13
Gossip. When we think of this word we often think of the he say/she say stuff that rumors are made of. But, gossip can often be quite subtle. According to Webster’s gossip is defined as “the act of sharing information about the behavior or personal lives of other people.” And while the definition may imply a deceitful nature, gossip can actually be quite innocent.
It starts with talking about a co-workers “behavior” at the copier. It’s just a simple discussion about things you have both observed. A discussion that then turns into judgment, condemnation, and resentment, and before you know it, you are in the midst of full-blown gossip.
It starts with a text to someone asking simply, “What’s wrong with him or her?” And quickly your simple act of concern moves to speculation and condemnation about one’s personal life or behavior.
You think you are working towards a solution to help a friend, co-worker, or family member, but these types of conversations quickly turn into talk that is unwholesome. Words are shared about your mutual friend that don’t build up. More than likely, your mutual concern to work towards helping, never actually comes to fruition.
Too much talk leads to sin. Be sensible and keep your mouth shut. Proverbs 10:19
Ouch. That was harsh….but then again, so are negative words.
I will admit, this area-it’s a hard one for me. I am not a glass half full girl! I play devil’s advocate-A LOT, and I tend to be a wee bit sarcastic (ok, more than a wee bit). I prepare for when the glass is empty, and in doing so find that the words that fly off my tongue are often negative.
Look up the word negative and its descriptions, and words like “unfavorable,” “gloomy,” “weak,” “colorless,” “unwilling,” and “repugnant” are listed. Do you want to be around these kinds of people? Probably not. And I don’t want to be one of these people either.
I get it. It’s hard. We are surrounded by so much in society that is anything but positive. And, I know-life is tough. Believe me, I know. If you have been reading for a while, then you know that I have experienced “tough.”
And, with social media constantly updating us on the personal lives of those who live and breathe among us, it is no wonder we have the propensity to gossip, to slander, and to pass judgment so quickly.
But, I don’t want to be the one who slanders, who gossips, and I certainly don’t want anyone to think being around me is “repugnant.”
Instead, I want to do what Paul instructs in Philippians 4:8. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about the things that are excellent and worthy of praise.
I want my words to be wholesome, helpful, beneficial, and used to build others up. Not used to condemn and tear others apart.
I want to stop talking to others about helping a friend in need, and actually do it.
I want to be bold enough to ask someone, “What’s wrong?” instead of fishing for the information from someone else.
I want the words that fall from my lips in times of struggle to be pleasant and not rancid.
I want the words I speak to be true, lovely, admirable, and pure. I want them to reflect the heart of Christ.
I want them to speak love.
I want them to speak truth.
I want them to speak blessing.
I want them to speak life.