I’ve been thinking a lot this week about the call to be in the world but not of the world, and how a Christian ought to behave in various situations. I’m not always the best example. I have issues with my mouth, that is for sure. But I try to learn from my mistakes, and to ask for forgiveness when I slip.
One thing in particular that’s been tugging at my mind lately is how Christians talk – particularly how we talk about others.
In reading about this topic this week, I found a few interesting links:
Gossip is also a way we judge others, which really isn’t our job. God is in charge of judging people, not us. Gossip really only ends up creating greed, hate, envy, murder.
Gossip is also a sign that we are not really active in our faith and in our lives. If you think about it, the busier we are, the less time we have to gossip. We no longer have the time to get wrapped up in someone else’s life. Gossip is bred out of boredom.
That bold part is what really struck me, particularly thinking about everybody’s favorite format in which to gossip: Facebook. I don’t think it’s true that Facebook time comes out of boredom, but it is certainly true that if you’re busy with meaningful tasks, you will have less time to gossip – whether on Facebook or off. This might explain why gossip became something I really stopped struggling with once I quit my job. Lordy, were we able to fill our downtimes with office gossip. 🙂 I just don’t have that kind of down time these days.
I personally work hard to keep private conversations private. Even if conversations contain nothing particularly secret… if I’m talking to one person about something, it’s really not my place to turn around and tell someone else about our conversation. I’m hardly a private person – but I do really try to show others that I value them by not spreading the details – even if mundane – of our conversations.
Yes, there is always temptation to stick our noses into the business of others. Everyone likes to be “in the know,” to be up on the latest, to be seen as important and having important information – but is that the call of the Christian? To fill that role? I’m not so sure.
Every tree is known by its fruit. As Christians we claim that our lives are samples of changed people accomplished by Christ. How then is our fruit?
Jesus Himself says that our words are an index to our heart, either vindicating or condemning us. Our words present the character of our thoughts. They do this accurately. We may talk much or but little, yet how we communicate with each other reveals the true measure of our experience.
Jesus said that “those things which proceed out of the mouth come forth from the heart” (Matthew 15:18). In short, what comes out is linked to the inside.
Likewise, the words that proceed forth and come out of our heart show without fail what is in our heart. In this sense, your mouth cannot lie. It tells more about your character than you have realized. That which comes out of the heart defiles the man.
James adds, “If any man among you seem to be religious, and bridleth not his tongue, but deceiveth his own heart, this man’s religion is vain” (James 1:26). Empty religion refuses to bridle the mouth. Ironically then, it turns out to be mostly talk and very little action. There is enough talk to pass oneself off—superficially—as religious. But the refusal to bridle the mouth is a refusal to exercise self-control. In the early church the premium was placed on right doing.
oof. “Hi, Sarah. I have a message for you. Shut Yer Trap! Love, God.”
This is the situation where I run into the most trouble, and I’d bet you do, too. This link was an interesting read and I personally thought – while there was nothing ground breaking – it was a nice reminder. 🙂 Particularly this one:
You are accountable to God for your own actions. You cannot control what the other person does, but you can control how you respond. They too will be accountable for their actions, but not to you. They are accountable to God.