Monday, March 24, 2008

By your words...

"I tell you, on the day of judgment people will give account for every careless word they speak."

Have you ever seen that verse? I know I have read it before because I have read the whole of the Bible and that is in Matthew 12:36, but I have never read it in the way I did today. My children and I did a study this morning on the tongue because their mother had an issue keeping hers in check. The words we read today were hard and brought many tears.

"Either make the tree good and its fruit good, or make the tree bad and its fruit bad, for the tree is known by its fruit. You brood of vipers! How can you speak good, when you are evil? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks."  (Matt. 12:33-34)

Out of the abundance of my heart my mouth speaks. What is in my heart if I have spoken something sinful? A fellow blogger has a "campaign" of sorts to root out gossip in the church. Gossip is probaby spoken more by women than by men. I have no real proof of that, but I would wager a good guess that it is so. I know that I have been guilty of it more often than I care to remember and it is almost always with another women. I don't share what I share with you to accuse you, but to encourage you to keep your tongues too.

This morning, by not bridling my own tongue I hurt a dear and precious friend. I repented of this sin, but it grieves me still. I share this with you so that you too may be thoughtful because I think it is so easy to open our mouths when we should be silent. Even when we think we are justified - are we honoring the person we are speaking of? Would we speak this way to their face?

"There is one whose rash words are like sword thrusts, but the tongue of the wise brings healing." (Prov. 12:18)

The scripture has so much to tell us - to warn us really - about the tongue. James is especially potent:

"Look at the ships also: though they are so large and are driven by strong winds, they are guided by a very small rudder wherever the will of the pilot directs. So also the tongue is a small member, yet it boasts of great things. How great a forest is set ablaze by such a small fire!" (James 3:4-5)

Ladies, it was a painful lesson to teach my children this morning. It was hard to sit and admit my ugliness to them, to encourage them to keep their tongues pure and their hearts guarded, but the times of refreshing in God's word - even after reading these scriptures that cut the heart - was true and beautiful to me. I don't know what my children will take away from the lesson this morning. I don't know what they will have learned, but I have learned a hard lesson today. I praise my Savior for His kindness to me. I praise Him for His forgiveness when I don't deserve it. I praise Him for His longsuffering over me. I praise Him for the ability to be humbled. I pray that I will remember that it was Jesus who said, "I tell you, on the day of judgment people will give account for every careless word they speak."


Monika said...

I wonder what you think about the reverse, when women are so scared of being gossips that all they will talk about is the weather? I ask this because in a fellowship I was in once, I could almost never get a good conversation going. The ladies were lock step in bland, safe comments. Minor child rearing, the actual weather, and upcoming church plans were like the only safe topics. No one seemed to have a serious position on any issue, or any struggles of any kind. I kid you not, it was like the Stepford wives.

If I mentioned having a difficulty with a child, a confusion about my role as a wife, an opinion about a current event, or a particular sin I had just noticed, I was treated as though I was gossiping. The ladies would look away, and change the subject or make a sort of meaningless response. It made me feel as though I were sinning. I gradually learned to just sort of smile and say good morning, how are you (no real answer ever given but,"fine!"). If someone was sick, and I asked, what is wrong, I'd even get generalities!! (Not that I need every detail, but you know, is it just allergies or pneumonia? It does make a difference).

I guess I am struggling to find a right definition of gossip. What is gossip?

Ann Landers or Dear Abby said, it is saying things that are untrue or unkind. I think that is a good enough notion, but I wonder how Scripture defines gossip.

Well, I'd love your thoughts on this!

UndertheSky said...

I have *never* in my life met women that were like that. LOL I don't know what I would have done either! I have almost always been opinionated, but there were times I guarded what I said more than other times - or around certain people. Oh yes, that much for sure. :+) Now I have a very safe group of friends that I can be ME with and we can discuss anything from personal convictions to government and we are all free to be ourselves. It was not always that way though.

I think gossip can be many things, but much of the time it depends on the heart of the person speaking. Do we need to know that Mrs. X, a friend of so and so, is allowing her children to do such and such? Does that matter to our lives? Would I discuss it with Mrs. X if she were in front of me? Or would I discuss it in *that* manner if she was in front of me? Am I sharing what I am sharing for a positive and proper purpose, or to give or receive a juicy morsel of gossip? I think a good rule of thumb is that if we are not willing to discuss the situation in front of the person experiencing the situation, we should probably not be discussing it at all

The Lexicon for "slander" (the KJV of "gossip") defines it as such:

1) whispering, defamation, evil report

a) whispering

b) defamation, defaming

c) evil report, unfavourable saying

The scripture discusses it at length and here are a few verses:

Proverbs 11:13

A gossip betrays a confidence, but a trustworthy man keeps a secret.

Proverbs 16:28

A perverse man stirs up dissension, and a gossip separates close friends.

Proverbs 18:8

The words of a gossip are like choice morsels; they go down to a man's inmost parts.

Proverbs 20:19

A gossip betrays a confidence; so avoid a man who talks too much.

Proverbs 26:20

Without wood a fire goes out; without gossip a quarrel dies down.

Romans 1:28-31

Furthermore, since they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, he gave them over to a depraved mind, to do what ought not to be done. They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. They are gossips, slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful; they invent ways of doing evil; they disobey their parents; they are senseless, faithless, heartless, ruthless.

1 Timothy 3:11

Women must likewise be dignified, not malicious gossips, but temperate, faithful in all things.

3 John 1:10

So if I come, I will call attention to what he is doing, gossiping maliciously about us...

Now I don't think this means we don't have opinions on things you are talking about - "a difficulty with a child, a confusion about my role as a wife, an opinion about a current event..." but it one might border on it with ..."or a particular sin I had just noticed..." if it was not your own sin.

It would likely depend on the circumstance, don't you think? I mean if I saw a young woman in my church come in completely inappropriately dressed and proceeded to comment on it out loud to someone near me in a very negative way, that would be gossip to me. If I went to that young woman and quietly expressed my concern, or went to her parents and expressed concern, that is not gossip - it is showing love for her. I think much of it depends on our hearts and what comes out of our mouths at the time. I have been guilty of all of those things.

What do you think? I am sorry you were faced with the Stepford Wives. That is just a difficult and bland place to be.



PS: By the way, I sure wish you were still blogging!! :+)

Edited by UndertheSky on Mar. 25, 2008 at 2:19 AM

deedeeuk said...

We all need a good reminder of these scriptures again and again! And I pray that your friendship will be healed too.

And I too have met some of those 'stepford wives' Christians before. Thankfully I was only with them for a week helping work at a girls camp run by a friend of mine! Talk about a difficult week!!! I was made to feel very immature simply because I as still dressing a certain way, talking about certain things, allowing my children to watch *ANY* TV-videos-dvds, and no one would talk to you about these issues, but simply turned the other way and stopped talking when you mentioned them. It was as if you were talking tabboos so they didnt' know what to say so lets go back to the weather and a recipe!! REALLY sad when scripture tells us to admonish one another and build each other up. Not sure how they can do that when they won't speak of anything real???

Monika said...

See, I was not imagining it. Someone else has experienced it, too. I got mighty annoyed with the "deep freeze" treatment. Well, maybe my pride got a little whacked.

I like what you said about "Would I say it if the subject were in the room?" Sometimes, when I am talking, and alarm bells go off in my head "Hey, Monika, careful, are you gossiping?" I imagine the subject is eavesdropping and see if I feel like altering my speech in any way. I think it's a pretty good technique.

blessingsundreamtof said...

Oh, how us bluntly honest women of the world need to embrace the taming of our tongues!!! I am still learning. I find my tongue most difficult to control when a situation arises that involves my dh or my children or someone's hypocrisy or.... well, like I said, I'm still working on this one. It's a struggle. Question--- Isn't it still wrong when we even think it in our brains??? Isn't the goal a complete heart change too? Again, still struggling. Thanks for posting about this.



DanaW said...

Dear Underthesky,

My heart aches for you--I pray your friendship will be healed and only become stronger as a result of this. How painful it is to hurt someone you love, whether it be a friend, your husband or one of your children. Even though I don't know you, Sister, I am proud of you--not only for apologizing to your friend, but for being humble enough to share the lesson you learned with your children.

In Christ alone,

Dana W

Epi Kardia Home Education


hugabunchmom said...

It is nice to read that because of your honesty and heart for teaching your children and learning yourself, your mistakes teach you and your children!! Many parents would have avoided sharing anything with their children and swept it all under a rug. The fact that you teach from EVERY learning moment, even the hurtful ones...says an awful lot about the beautiful person you are!! Thanks for giving all of us a reminder about taming our tongues, we needed it. Many HUGS!

JenIG said...

A-MEN sister! well said

Anonymous said...

Dear Kate,

On Grace to You radio John MacArthur just finished a series entitled 'Taming the Tongue'. It was so excellent and covered so many facets of Godly speech that I am planning on order the set to have at home and listen to over again. Excellent resource.

Thanks for being transparent and for the reminder of God's desire for us to have the 'law of kindness' on our tongues!

mamaduckof4 said...

Yes, I too have met the Stepford type. :) But besides that, I wanted to thank you for such a candid entry. I stumbled upon your blog, and boy am I glad! I truly enjoy and take to heart your Scripture commentary. I will definitely be checking back here often! God bless.

kympossible said...

to say Hello! Thanks for visiting my blog and mentioning the Lawhead books. I've also read Patrick and Byzantium and loved both of those as well. Hope to see you again around the blog-world!



Anonymous said...

You know, just reading over this post made me realize how short I've been with my children lately. My beloved has been working crazy hours and a number of other stressers in my life have made me think I have a good excuse to be impatient. But what type of heart attitudes does my grumpiness reveal? Hmmm... Thanks for your candor for your honesty has certainly struck a cord for me.


maggie AKA darrensgirl