I was reading my devotional this morning and gossip was the topic. Please don’t think me super spiritual, truthfully, it has been weeks since I’ve read the Bible. In fact, a friend of mine from high school messaged me Monday and gently reminded me to make time. She shared her own struggles as a mom and told me that she has begun waking up an hour before the children just so she can have quiet time with the Lord, read her Bible, and get a shower!
I’m on day 2 of choosing to do the same and today’s devotional hurt my spirit. Often times we choose scripture that lifts us up and makes us feel really good and we breeze over those that convict us. We even decide that those scriptures don’t pertain to us or in some cases we decide our duty is to convince others that scripture meaning was lost in translation, as if we are so brilliant and have a divine revelation that none has had before us. We continue on as if those who translated the Bible had no idea how to do so properly. Better yet, those who were divinely spoken to by the Holy Spirit or who physically walked with Jesus wrote “those parts” to make us all miserable in the 21st century.
The truth is, we need to allow the Holy Written Word of God to convict us and lead us by the Holy Spirit so that we may have a closer walk with Jesus. We must allow Him to mold us and shape us into who He has called us to be for His own glory to live a truly blessed life.
Oh my! Proverbs 16:28 hurt this morning. Why? For two reasons.
1. I’ve been guilty.
2. I’ve been the feast.
Honestly, I could stop there. Those two reasons and this scripture are enough to make you think and possibly think during those times when we clearly have a choice, not an easy choice, but a choice.
If you’re like me, I’m not usually the starter of the conversation unless something is really… really… really bothering me. But, I find myself being the person that a friend comes to to talk about another friend. It makes me uncomfortable. I start thinking “ok! What is truth? What is gossip? What’s the other side? Is it ok to talk about the truth? Is it ok to talk about anything at all? What if it happened to me? Can I talk about that? What. Can. I. Say.??? Aghhhh! I have this internal panic that begins to happen. Then, it continues. “Oh my gosh. I don’t want this friend to think I don’t care” “I don’t want the other friend to think I’m mad too or don’t like them or don’t understand their side.” “JESUS. HELP!”
And yet, I’m still guilty. The answer: “Let’s go together and talk with ____ and let’s see if we can fix this”. But. That’s. Hard.
The other side. Oh the other side. A “friend” gets offended by something… something, I have no idea about. Instead of coming to me privately or seeking advice from another friend, (“Rachel said this and it hurt me, what should I do?”) They go to a mutual friend or acquaintance to trash me, and trash it is. Trash in that, the words spoken are trash and now, I am trash to the other person.
Recently, I said something on good ol’ social media that really hurt one of the most precious people I know. My words stung her heart. She sat on them for a few days. I had no idea. I meant them in a funny manner actually speaking of myself, but the words meant something entirely different to her. She seeked council from her husband and from Jesus and she came to me. I apologized and cried and felt horrible and confessed my sin to 3-4 friends privately and on social media where I said what I said. I just needed to talk. If I could have, I would have hugged my sweet friend so tight, but it was all done through messaging. Although this hurt two people (her and Me), possibly more, it was right and it was good and it was finished.
In the last couple of years, another very long, very opposite and scrutiny like fiasco happened in which I was feasted on with words. To this day the person who listened to the gossip will not speak to me or even look at me when we see each other… which is often, weekly. By seeing her so often, I’m reminded weekly of conversations I was not apart of, and I wander if Jesus was consulted at all during those conversations. I wander if He’s consulted at all now.
But, no matter, there is one thing I can do! I’m reminded of the scripture that says
“love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.” Matthew 5:44
I’m also reminded that rather than praying for those ladies, I have worried and wandered what was said, how it was said, and why. Why not just come to me?
I can tell you that years ago, Someone did come to me. She simply said this, “I have to tell you something. I’ve been talking about you with ________ for a while. In fact, any time we’re together, you’re a topic and I’m sorry! I won’t be talking about you anymore.” As the recipient of that hard admission, it stung a tad, but not nearly has hard as all the talking. I knew it had been going on. I said nothing and I prayed. I waited on the Lord and He restored a very important relationship. I didn’t ask questions. I never will. I don’t want to know what was said. I will tell you this. This person will always be revered as noble in my eyes and my heart because it takes strength and love to do what she did.
Yes! These different times have been painful on so many levels, but God! God is sovereign and merciful, and full of love, so let’s go to Him.
Father, I ask you now to overcome my heart with your love, your forgiveness, and your grace. Let my words be honey on my lips and let my words glorify your name and nothing above your name. Forgive me Lord. Yet again, I have fallen short of the Glory of God. Yet again, I ask your grace to cover my sins, fill me with your Holy Spirit, and help me forgive others. I pray for those who have hurt me. I ask that they draw close to you, that you bless them to overflowing, and fill their hearts with your love for others. I pray that you help me refrain from tearing others down and give me words to say when I am provoked. Prompt them to seek your face just as you prompt me to do the same. Pour out your forgiveness on them just as you forgive me, Lord Jesus. Amen.