Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Gossip/Rumors (either or both) (10/28/10)
TITLE: The Crackling of Thorns
By Shanta Richard
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California’s giant coniferous tree, the Red wood, is magnificent and stately. It reaches a height of three hundred feet and has a girth of more than twenty-five feet and lives for years and years. It is so strong that violent winds and earthquakes cannot tear it down. Yet there is a tiny moth that can crawls between the cracks in the bark and burrows into the soft wood of the tree and lays its eggs there. Soon the little worms hatch out and start eating the tree from the inside out until it dies and falls down.
This is how gossip operates. The stories of Joan of Arc, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, and the Scarlet Letter, portray the viciousness of gossip. It is like a double edged sword, destroying not only the one who strikes but also the one who wields it. Sometimes I watch my friends in the senior housing, play Bingo. I hear them enjoying themselves as they share juicy bits of gossip. I am amazed at their ingenuity, creativity and cunning in changing an innocent remark into a malicious gossip. What a waste of talent. I wonder what they get out of it. Are they pumping up their ego by deflating someone else’s self-esteem? The earth’s gravity makes it easier to pull down than to raise up.
Maybe it is a kind of addiction that gives them a “high” when they laugh at someone they succeeded in knocking down. Just as in the case of addicts it is pathetic to see them missing the best things in life. As Christians we are called to be trees bearing fruit. Fruits mellow with age. They become deeper in color, sweeter in taste and delightful in fragrance. Is that not what attracts the birds and squirrels to them? Gossip will never attract anybody – it would scare them away. Gossip bears no love, compassion, or pity. It foments hatred, bitterness and strife. Those who gossip lead lonely and miserable lives. Maybe it is their way of coping with the disappointments, frustrations and sadness in their lives. But like all addicts they will never admit to it. They need treatment-they need counseling – they need the love of God. They need to be prayed for.
The Preacher says, “As crackling of thorns under a pot, so is the laughter of the fool. This also is vanity.”(Ecc.7:6).
Hosea, the prophet, describes them as, “They talk big, lie through their teeth, make deals. But their high sounding words turn out to be empty words – litter in the garbage.”(Hos.10:4 – The Message Bible)
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