Friday, September 18, 2009

It's a Killer

The tongue runs wild, a wanton killer.
With our tongues we bless God our Father;
with the same tongues we curse the very
men and women he made in his image.

James 3:8b-9

Christians can be brutal. I know this from experience. Preparing myself for worship one Sunday morning the woman sitting at my right turned and whispered, “You know I’ve talked to a few people who don’t think your husband is very friendly.” Another was listening to a distraught member of another congregation tell me the stuff she had heard about my marriage that caused me to wonder whose marriage she was talking about! Along with other juicy lies, none of it had any substance. It was simply a matter of a tongue running wild.

While most people would agree that “gossip” is wrong, Christians have found that if they wrap it in the garment of “sharing” or being “concerned” it has a more appealing appearance. Once, while leading a Bible study in James, I asked the question, “Should you listen to gossip, or should you refuse, encouraging the individual to speak to the person involved.” “Oh, honey,” replied one long time member, “It’s not gossip. People need someone to talk to and sometimes they need to just get things off their chest.”

Quite frankly, it can be kind of fun to listen to stuff about other people! Nevertheless, if you know that what you’re hearing is several times removed, or hasn’t been discussed with the person in question, you are participating in the destruction of the Christian community. The tongue is a wanton killer.

If our tongues both bless God and curse His creation how meaningful is the blessing? When a tongue runs wild, ego is in control. In short, gossip is telling God that what he created is less than satisfactory. Boy, does that takes nerve!

Jesus, forgive me for the times I’ve listened to a wanton killer.
My desire is to be part of building up your creation.
Help me to have the courage to boldly speak against the
words that seek to destroy.

No comments: