Wednesday, August 22, 2012

To Fight "the Crime"

Someone was over for lunch. A trivial bit of information about a person came to my mind. 
"You know..." I began to say. Before I could say any more, A Diet of Words, a post that I read the other day, stopped me. The post was all about speaking words that heal, instead of hurt. I realized that useless gossip, often does hurt yourself and others. What now, though? I quickly tried to think of something more relevant and meaningful to say instead. I glanced at the table. It had the casserole dish containing vegan quiche on it, which our visitor had brought. Ah, yes!
"Thank you for sharing this quiche with us," I continued my sentence, "It was really tasty!"
Mum smiled and agreed. It really was good. The visitor grinned and told how they had made it -- in a quick bid to use up some pak choy they had pulled out of their garden.

I was thrilled, with God's help, to have been able to stop the tide of trivia from spilling from my mouth, and say something meaningful instead. 

But mixed in with success, is failure too. At least it was for me, that day. Not many hours after my victory, I gave an opinion on someone. As it came time to feed and milk the goats, I thought about what I'd said. I couldn't deny it -- it was gossip. Before reading Heather's post, I'd not given it much practical thought, but, that night, I did. The words of Paul came to my mind, 
“They are gossips, slanderers, haters of God, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless. Though they know God’s righteous decree that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them.” (Romans 1:29b-32)
It's not right of me to participate or even just listen, because both, encourages it.

So, I'd failed. What now though? More of the concepts in "Diet of Words" joined my train of thought.
When finding yourself talking about someone not present, stop, explain your "diet of words" and pray for the person, instead.
Unfortunately, it was too late to follow the advice to a tee. I determined it wasn't too late to learn from my mistake, though.
When the milking was finished, and I'd returned to the house, I knelt down. Asked for God's forgiveness. Prayed for His blessing and guidance in the lives of these friends. I knew it would be a blessing for them, but it blessed me too. Peace filled me.

I hope to do this again, in the future -- but before the words even come out of my mouth. By God's grace, I want to turn every would-be-conversation-about-someone into a prayer for them, instead. Even if it means saying, "At the moment, I feel like talking about this person; instead, can we pray for them right now?"

Elyssa, is right. It's a cruelty and a crime we don't think about much: gossiping. It seperates friends and can make us suspicious and bitter. But it's something that everyone does. For a long time, I've known deep down, that it's not the best to gossip.  I didn't quite know what to do about this problem though. That's when I came across the "Say it to Her Face" Challenge. I saw the merit in it. Appreciated the wisdom. I've decided to join in.

I know I'll fail at times. But, I know too, that I can succeed, in Christ. I know, because I've experienced victory. We can fight this crime.

Will you join me?

*Disclaimer: This is a personal conviction God has placed on my heart. Please do not feel forced to take this on as your conviction (unless the Holy Spirit has been prompting you in this area).

Monday, August 20, 2012

The Crime Rarely Considered As Such

It's not fair or right. It is cruel, cruel, cruel. That "it" is gossip. Gossip that brings out peoples weaknesses and failures for all to criticize whether it be true or no, and misrepresenting motive, blackening reputation,  dissecting character and turning people against them. That is the crime rarely considered as such and it is wicked.

"We think with horror of the cannibal who feasts on the still warm and trembling flesh of his victim; but are the results of even this practice more terrible than are the agony and ruin caused by misrepresenting motive, blackening reputation, dissecting character?" 
~Ellen White

No one is worthy of this... And Your pastors and elders do not deserve it either! It's hard being a pastor, and to stand against the tide. You have no idea how much they go through, the trials they endure, the load they carry, or how close to despair and hopelessness, and discouragement they come to. If they are men who love the Lord with their whole hearts, who are holding up the banner of truth when most others are not and who stand for their convictions, than stand by them, encourage them, love them! They are sinners in need of a Savior as much as you, and they are striving with their whole hearts to be like Jesus, to keep pressing forward in their christian walk and character building. So don't pick on their faults, don't gossip and spread evil rumors to whoever will listen, that are 99.99% always false about them or anyone else for that matter. Don't do it to anyone, even if it were true, it or rather YOU may cause much much harm, cost their eternal life and the ruin of many other souls if you indulge in such a crime.

 “Death and life are in the power of the tongue." Proverbs 18:21

If you have a problem with someone, speak personally to them about it and try to work it out... Most often it's only a simple misunderstanding.. Don't hold a grudge or talk bad to their hurt behind their back... It's just not right.

Your pastors love you, and care about you, and pray for you, and try their very  best to be there for you whenever you are in need. But who loves them, cares about them, prays for them, and are there when they need someone? Most often, no one. So don't make their burden heavier, or wound their hearts more by misrepresenting motive, blackening reputation, or dissecting character, there are plenty of people who already do that... Show them you love them, care about them, appreciate them... It will bless them and you so much, even if it was just a word, a smile, or an action.

Think twice, or three or four or as many times as needed before you speak and remember the golden rule, do unto others as you would have them do unto you and remember we are all sinners in need of a Savior! Oh, that we would be the grave of each other's faults and failures!

Oh how we must be so careful how we deal with souls, for eternity is at stake...

Eternity... Death and life are in the balances!
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