"But as for you, you meant evil against me; but God meant it for good, in order to bring it about as it is this day, to save many people alive." Gen 50:20
There was a time when a sensitive area in my life became the event of a water cooler talkfest. I remember how hurtful it was to know that a time of personal of hardship in my family had become a newsflash around the office. It left me feeling hurt and embarrassed, especially when my boss mentioned it to me. I never saw the woman who started it all, but like a social vice grip I felt the full effect of her slanderous words. I was grateful I never had a face to associate with my hurt. It helped me not to harbor bitterness in my own heart towards someone. I knew all I needed to know. Her first name was gossip.
People participate in gossip as though it were a spectator sport. Everyone gathers around, lending an ear, not realizing that by entertaining the words they hear, they actually become willing participants in it. If no one listened, there would be no such thing as gossip. Just because one doesn't repeat gossiping words doesn't mean they are any less accountable to God for participating in it.
Christians are not exempt from gossiping either. What if I am merely asking for "prayer" for someone, you may ask, is that gossip? Ummm Yes, it can be. We know in our hearts when we are sharing too much information. It's worse than flat out gossiping because we are sinning and putting a Jesus stamp on it. We need to be protecting each other, not throwing one another under the bus in Jesus' name.
Gossip is not meant for someone's good. It is meant to bring shame and humiliation and it does that quite effectively. What a gossiping person may not know is that the shame and humiliation really falls on their own head. No one trusts a gossiping person.
As humans, we are all in the same boat. Everyone struggles with something. We are part of a fallen race. We may be a forgiven part of the human race, but we are still human just the same. Our lives and character are built on trials and tribulations. God's word says, "And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character, hope. Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us." Romans 5:3-5 Our trials are what make us the people that we are. They are what makes us soft and pliable clay in the hands of our mighty God. They are how we can have compassion for others going through the same things. Much more than that, they lead us, and those whose lives we will touch, to the foot of the cross and they carry us to the arms of the Savior.
Jesus is our hope. He is our strong tower and He will use every experience you and I have for our good and to His glory. So if we are going to talk about something, let it be about God and how, by His Holy Spirit, he is changing lives. Let our words be used for good and not harm. As for me, God made good of the hurt that was done at the hand of gossip, by encouraging me to share this experience with you. Jesus has a way of taking a dark subject and bringing it out into the light of His love in His own gentle, non-condemning way. Let us be thankful that what man may mean for evil, God turns into good.
Lyn Ventura is a Christian writer from New England. She may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
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