Too many times in conversations we are quick to ask for or offer up the gory details of a story. The big mistake that we make is not asking the right questions. Instead we ask for more ghastly details when we should be asking for the important details, the ones that point to the gospel. Often all we want to hear is the dark side of the story, which is why we are willing to stop there. By doing this we are then disrespecting the work that God has done and continues to do.
What would happen if we approached scripture in this manner? If we only see the sinful and dark side of the story of David and Bathsheba (2 Samuel 11&12) all we are seeing then is an episode of a favorite British soap opera and we are missing the best part. We are missing the gospel. A dark picture then is painted and yet too often we are willing to stop right there. I think we do seek a happy ending but what happens when there isn’t one (at least not one that the world deems happy). Are we not willing to see the work, blessings, and redemption that the gospel gives us? We want to talk about the dung but not the Son.
Friends and confidants are a blessing and should be cherished but we need to caution ourselves not to share information with them that is not meant for them have. On the other hand we also need to be careful not to divulge information to a specific friend because we know the information will make its way to the intended person. The words we speak can be gossip even if it’s to that specially preferred person we share our secrets with. Perhaps we should take inventory of our intent even more with that safe person, because we feel safe with them we can also feel safe sinning with them. It is very important that we ask ourselves some questions before sharing information with those around us, even those we deem safe.
Too often we cover the intent of our ill words regarding our brothers and sisters by claiming we are seeking counsel with a pastor, friend, or even a counselor. This is gossip and it needs to stop. While there are those times that we do need counsel and we do need to share specific details, but we need to check the intent in our hearts before we proceed and ask ourselves if what we are about to share will be for God’s glory. We also need to be cautious as to whom we speak with, not everyone is trustworthy or able to offer sound advice.
When we participate in gossip we rob others of the opportunity to get to know someone for who God made them to be. Instead we blind them with our skewed and ugly perspective of that person. The wreckage of sin that fills our hearts and pours out of our mouths can do long term damage to all whom the words have touched.
The truth is too often we crave the details that are painful or dramatic. We find joy in tattling to those in authority about the wrongdoings of others but this is gossip as well. We do not offer grace to others because we are so quick to condemn them based on our narrow perspectives and lack of understanding. Too many times we are quick to jump to conclusions and be presumptuous based upon only what others have said rather than seeking truth.
We like to soak up the grace that God gives us but we are often unwilling to heap that grace upon others. We miss that the good details in the events are equally if not more dramatic than the dark ones. By doing this we are letting our flesh dictate our desires instead of Christ. It’s an easy trap to fall into and a challenging one to climb out of. I’m not suggesting we need to have a Pollyanna viewpoint all of the time, truth needs to be delivered in and with love.
How often do we find ourselves talking about another person, including our kids, only to say harmful and negative words about them? Why are we so quick to speak ill of someone rather than point out the virtuous details? Yes we are sinners and yes we do awful things but we also do good things because Christ does good through us. So shouldn’t we be pointing those elements out? Shouldn’t we be sharing with others the positive aspects we see in someone?
Instead of being quick to criticize a person behind their back perhaps we need to focus on seeing the good that Christ has done in them and through them. At one point or another we are all guilty of malicious gossip, let’s focus on speaking to others about the positive attributes.
but only such as is good for building up, that it may give grace to those who hear. Ephesians 4:29