A Graveyard for Gossip
Read these next three phrases, and ask yourself what you think when you've heard someone say one or more of them to you.
"Have you heard...?"
"You're not going to believe this...!"
"You cannot tell anyone what I'm about to tell you...."
As soon as someone begins a sentence with these words, we know that what comes next is going to be juicy. We've been trained to move to the edge of our seats when we hear those phrases being uttered.
Because we love us some gossip, don't we?
Unless it's about us.
I've been on the wrong end of gossip before. As a pastor, it kind of comes with the territory. I had a church member once who seemed to take great pleasure in making up fantastic stories about me, and sharing them with anyone who would listen.
"No one really takes her seriously," a church staffer told me. "They know she loves to gossip, and they just take everything she says with a grain of salt."
That's the basic excuse that most of us give when we gossip--that it's essentially harmless, and that no one really gets hurt. Until they do, which invariably happens at some point or another.
Because at some point when we speak words of gossip, those words land on the person we're speaking about. They either land directly on them when they find out what's been said, or they land on them indirectly when their reputation is tarnished, and they are diminished in the eyes of others.
I was reading today about how to overcome a critical spirit that leads to gossip and a quote from E. Stanley Jones jumped out at me. He wrote, "Let your heart be a graveyard for gossip."
I need this in my life. Maybe you do, too. My heart needs to be a place where gossip goes to die. When it's shared with me by others... when it festers up inside of me, begging to live and poison the air around me... I need to let my heart be a graveyard for those kinds of killing words.
May you let your speech be seasoned with the salt of what is good, pure and holy today and every day. May your heart be a place where the chain of killing words is disarmed and falls apart. May you speak grace and peace into the world.
And may the grace and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you now and always. Amen.