“Without wood a fire goes out; without gossip a quarrel dies down,”
Friend to Friend
A monster was sneaking into my yard in the dark of night and devouring my prize plants. I never saw his beady eyes or heard his pounding footsteps—just the aftermath of his destruction. He left a trail of slime as he moved from plant to plant, leaving large gaping holes in broadleaf Gerbera daisies, gnawing entire velvety trumpet-shaped blossoms on purple petunias and reducing bushy begonias to naked stalks.
I asked a neighbor about my flowerbed’s demise and she determined, “You’ve got slugs.”
Slugs!” I exclaimed. “The yard monster is a tiny little slug?”
“You can put out slug bait to catch them and see for yourself,” my confident neighbor continued.
I sprinkled slug bait all around the yard and then waited. The next morning I viewed the “monsters” remains. The beasts were about ¼ inch long—about the size of my little toe nail.
How could something so small cause so much damage in such a short amount of time? I mused. Then my mind thought of something else that is very small that can cause enormous damage in a short amount of time…gossip. King Solomon wrote, “The words of a gossip are like choice morsels; they go down to a man’s inmost parts.” Just as one tiny slug can destroy an entire flowerbed, so can one tiny morsel of gossip destroy a person’s reputation, mar one’s character, and devour a friendship.
In the South we have this knack for making gossips sound…almost nice. All you have to do is add “bless her heart” to the end of the sentence. It goes like this: “Susie gained fifty pounds with that last pregnancy, bless her heart.” “Marcy’s husband ran off with his secretary, bless her heart.” “I heard Clair yelling at the postman yesterday, bless her heart.” But all the “bless her hearts” don’t mask what it really is…gossip.
Solomon wrote, “Whoever repeats the matter separates close friends,” (Proverbs 17:9 NIV). Charles Allen, the author of God’ Psychiatry observed: “Those of great minds discuss ideas, people of mediocre minds discuss events, and those of small minds discuss other people.” Maybe if we are spending our time talking about people, we need to fill our minds with better material such as good books and other reading material (and I don’t mean People Magazine or the National Enquirer).
What exactly is gossip? Webster defines gossip as ”easy, fluent, trivial talk, talk about people behind their backs.” It is repeating information about another person’s private affairs. If you have to look around to make sure that no one can hear what you are saying, you are probably gossiping. If you would not say something in front of the person you are talking about, then you’re probably gossiping.
We have often heard the phrase, “knowledge is power.” Perhaps that is why gossip is so appealing. It suggests a certain amount of power because, “I have the inside scoop.” But gossip is not power. On the contrary it shows a lack of power…lack of self-control.
Today, let’s make our lives a NO GOSSIP ZONE.
Lord, please keep a guard over my mouth today. If I even consider gossiping about someone, convict me before a word leaves my mouth. May the words of my mouth be pleasing in Your sight today.
In Jesus’ Name,
Now It’s Your Turn
Go back to Webster’s definition of gossip. Can you think of anything you have said in the last week that would fit that description?
Let’s say “no” to gossip. If you are willing to eliminate gossip from your life, click over to www.facebook.com/sharonjaynes and type in the following words: I’m living in a NO GOSSIP ZONE.
More from the Girlfriends
Today’s devotion was taken from my book, The Power of a Woman’s Words. If you would like to learn how to control your words and use them to speak life into those around you, then this is the book for you. Visit www.sharonjaynes.com to download a free chapter or watch a video. It also has a companion Bible Study Guide and DVD.