I have a big problem with idle chatter about things…and/or people (especially people) that upset me. I’ve heard God dealing with me on this lately, explaining to me as a loving parent how my words can hurt people much more than a physical blow – because words can leave lasting damage. I thought I’d understood but today God clearly convicted me in this area because it isn’t that I didn’t understand – but as most of us do – I found a way (or so I thought) to say what I had to say without hurting anyone’s feelings.
See I get this thing called “righteous indignation” as a dear sister (Thanks Sharenell, awesome woman of God right there!) put it to me one day. When I see people completely throw caution to the wind and put their trust in themselves, forsaking and/or mocking God – OHHHHHHHH BOY IT IRKS ME SO! And I get upset! And I don’t mean just a tad bit upset, it runs me hot, because I love God so and I know how good He is and I really dislike seeing people treat Him just any kind of way —- or even more so as if He just doesn’t exist.
I also get angry when people’s actions don’t match their words…when they claim love or friendship/family yet their actions show a completely different attitude. I’m very sensitive to people treating you like you’ve done something wrong when you’ve done nothing at all or all you’ve done is try to help….and it’s one thing to treat me that way – but when I see you treat OTHERS that way, it sets me off! Yet again, that “righteous indignation” rises up and I go off!
I used to think simply because I was venting my frustrations to close friends or my spouse that it didn’t really matter if I wasn’t saying anything wrong directly to that person you know? Plus I would tell myself the people I was venting to clearly have their own opinion of the individual so it’s not technically “character assassination” if the people I’m talking to won’t look at the person I’m talking about any differently. But….not so.
Last night I told God I had a problem…and I told Him to make the solution plain…now the problem I was referring to was something totally different – whereas the problem GOD was looking at was my mouth! This morning in my devotional He made it very clear! As soon as I clicked on the crosswalk devotional series (Girlfriends in God “When You’re Wrong, Even Though You’re Right” by Wendy Blight) I was hit with this scripture,
“Do not let ANY unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen” ~Ephesians 4:29
Boy, talk about a convicting moment.
I had a choice, either I could overlook the lesson and act as if My Father was not speaking directly to me about my terrible behavior – or I could listen and allow Him to move me to change. See, every part of our lives belongs to God – especially our mouths!We are blessed with the gift of speech and we are to use it to worship and praise God, encourage and uplift others, and share His good Word everywhere we go. That’s the purpose of God giving us speech – not to sit up and talk about people no matter how right we may be.
And that’s the thing, God said my anger and feelings were both justified, in fact I was right in what I was saying – however, that does NOT justify my behavior and my conversation and in that, God is not pleased.
Sometimes as believers in Christ, we can convince ourselves that our conversation about another is not “gossip” but rather just us expressing our feelings and when people around agree with us, we tend to think ourselves all the more right but God doesn’t care about all that. God calls us to righteousness in every area, including our speech, because we need always remember we are setting an example to those we speak to. Imagine how it looks when you, the one everyone knows, KNOWS GOD, sits around in idle gossip…what kind of example are you setting then?
I now understand, not only is the gossip idle talk and a waste of words that gets our minds off God, but it also sets a bad example for those we are talking to who may look to us as spiritual leaders and examples of Christ. We need always be mindful of the things we say and use our words only for that which is good and edifying, giving glory to Christ. It’s the little things that grow into big things that begin to slowly separate us from God….
Let us use our words to glorify God and God alone! Your anger and passion for God and for others to treat you with kindness and love is not in itself a bad thing, but don’t allow the enemy to use these things as a stumbling block to get you into gossip because the more you open your mouth to talk about others, the less you speak about God, and the further your thoughts go from Him.
Will you join me in committing yourself to using your words for God and God alone? Can you commit to speaking only what is edifying and uplifting? Useful for building each other up and NOT tearing one another down – even if in private?
As God told me once before, “if you don’t feel you have anything nice to say – pray for them and tell ME (God) how you feel.” We don’t HAVE to talk about people, we just enjoy it, but God has called His children to a higher standard and we must obey.Don’t get caught up.
“We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought and make it obedient to Christ.” 2 Corinthians 10:5
Proverbs 21:23 “Whoever keeps his mouth and his tongue keeps himself out of trouble.”
Proverbs 12:18 “There is one whose rash words are like sword thrusts, but the tongue of the wise brings healing.”
James 3:2-10 “For we all stumble in many ways. And if anyone does not stumble in what he says, he is a perfect man, able also to bridle his whole body. If we put bits into the mouths of horses so that they obey us, we guide their whole bodies as well. 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! And the tongue is a fire, a world of unrighteousness. The tongue is set among our members, staining the whole body, setting on fire the entire course of life, and set on fire by hell…”