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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Gossip/Rumors (either or both) (10/28/10)

TITLE: Spread the smear with prayers
By Brian Passe
11/03/10


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GOSSIP - Groups Of Silent Snipers Invoking Prayers. Many Christians call the prayer chain to tell, or find out, about someone's tribulations. We do it under the guise of being concerned about someone when we really want to revel in the ugly details.

We often talk about walking in a manner that doesnít diminish our actions in the eyes of unbelievers or new Christians. Driving by the liquor store, however, we look for familiar cars to see if anyone from church is buying alcohol. We turn our nose up when we smell tobacco smoke on a fellow church member. And the tongues really wag, prayerfully of course, when adultery is exposed. Itís so comforting to sit back and pat ourselves on the back because we donít drink, smoke or chase women. It gets really exciting when the Pastor stumbles. Thatís just payback for all the times his messages made us feel uncomfortable.

I have been beaten up, shot at and had my name smeared. My body healed from the beatings and the bullet missed. Unfortunately, I never got my reputation restored when gossip destroyed my name.

Gossip destroys souls. It is the easiest of tools used by evil, and frequently the most ignored by Christians. We focus too much on peoples actions and our perception, i.e. interpretation, of their actions. Spending three years as an Inspector General for the Army, I learned how perceptions reflected peopleís own faults more than those they accused. People signed affidavits, and screamed in my face, demanding I believe what they saw, or heard, was the absolute truth. Rarely was their hearing or perception close to reality. Even after shown physical evidence, they remained adamant that the one they accused was wrong and must be punished.

Weíre told that salvation sets us apart from the world. I believe it does. Gossip brings us right back into the world. Itís done with the best of intentions. Promises are made to say nothing to anyone else. If we believed that promise, we would tell the person to stop talking before they wanted to spread gossip. Of course we can be trusted, so what is said will never be repeated. It gets really exciting, however, when you hear the same gossip - and it has even more ugly details. Well my goodness, if its out there with even more details, then it must be public knowledge. Join the conversation. It canít be gossip if everyone knows.

I challenge everyone to say not one negative thing about anyone, or anything, for one week. Say no to gossip. Encourage and lift others up. Try it and see how much, or how little, you will have to say. Can you go through an entire week looking only for the good and never the bad? If you can, you will find more peace within yourself. Also, the Pastorís message wonít hurt so much. Unfortunately you may find yourself left out of conversations. You may actually find yourself in a minority group.

Join the minority. Repeat no gossip. Lift up others. Look for the good. Spread only good news. We will become the majority only if we refuse to leap into the smear. Close your mouth and refuse to listen to the gossip. You will be an example to those who do not know Christ. If Christians spread gossip, why would a lost person want to be a Christian? Let's end one smear at a time by closing one mouth at a time


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Member Comments
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Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 11/06/10
This was a nice little sermon about the evils of gossip. I could easily see my minister saying this in church. You made some valid points and an interesting challenge.
Verna Mull11/06/10
Excellent article. Too many of us are guilty of spreading gossip by prayer requests. Often it really isn't the intention but the real concern, but details come out too easily, I fear.
Jan Ackerson 11/07/10
Superb words of exhortation.
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 11/11/10
Congratulations for placing in the top 10 of your level!