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The Bible says that the tongue is a fire. James 3:6 Think of the good that fire can do, but then think of the destruction that fire can cause.
I was thinking about gossip recently. My first thought was, “I don’t do that.” But, then, “Do I, Lord? Is it possible I do?”
As I mentor moms, I’m constantly aware of the example of my words and often aware of how poor that example is! But, at home, too, am I being a Godly example as a mom in my speech? How about when I’m on the phone? What is the example that my children are seeing and will follow? Do I gossip to my husband, thinking that it doesn’t matter if I’m gossiping, because I tell him everything? Am I being a Godly helpmeet, by speaking edifying words to my husband–building him up–or are my words tearing down? Might there be ways I can share with him things he needs to know, without gossiping?
The other day I was thinking (in a rather judgmental way) about others who had spread gossip and I suddenly felt the conviction of the Lord as He reminded me of times when I hadn’t used discretion in my speech. As I thought about it, the Lord revealed to me that
There are three times that I’m especially tempted:
- I fall into gossiping when I’m with certain people. This usually is when I’m with my very closest friends, who I know understand me and probably will agree with what I’m saying. I let my guard down, and often don’t even try to say things in an especially kind way. I know “they understand what I mean,” right?
- I start gossiping when I start talking too fast or too much. This often happens when I’ve had too much caffeine:) Note to self: curbing caffeine intake = curbing sinning with my mouth.
“In the multitude of words there wanteth not sin: but he that refraineth his lips is wise.” Proverbs 10:19
- I start gossiping when I am underfed on God’s Word or haven’t spent much time with Him in prayer.
Here are some questions, just for starters, to ask ourselves before we speak that may prevent us falling into the sin of gossiping:
- Do I know for certain that what I’m saying is true?
- Would I want it said of me?
- Even if it is true, does it need to be repeated?
- Is it a good report?
- Am I the one to say it?
- Have I gone to the person directly to confirm the report?
As I think of the example Jesus left for us, and all His wise counsel in the Word, it causes me to ask myself:
- How trustworthy am I?
- How loving am I?
These verses from Scripture come to mind as I think of the tongue.
“A soft answer turneth away wrath: but grievous words stir up anger.” Proverbs 15:1
“She openeth her mouth with wisdom; and in her tongue is the law of kindness.” Proverbs 31:26
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