Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Gossip Mill (05/08/14)
- TITLE: "Lord, is it I?"
By Trudy Newell
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I’m embarrassed as I think back and realize I have been a part of the gossip mill.
I’m not happy when I remember how I blew it. The only saving factor is I was blind and unaware of how the enemy was using me. This does not excuse me. I did not have to fall into Satan’s trap. I could have checked the facts more closely. I could have been careful instead of careless in my prayer requests.
Like Peter – open mouth, insert foot. Once the words were out of my mouth, they could not be recalled – like a bad part on a car.
Ever been there? Not fun, is it? No wonder David prayed “Set a guard, O Lord, over my mouth. Keep watch over the door of my lips.”
Every day our prayer should be: “Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Your sight O Lord, my Strength and my Redeemer.” Psalm 19:14.
Proverbs warns us that talking too much gets us into trouble and leads to sin. The sins of the tongue are terrible. The damage done by sowing discord among the brothers is so easy to do and almost impossible to undo.
Lord, forgive me. Help me never again to be a part of the gossip mill!
James tells us that it is not possible to tame the tongue. But with God’s help we can control the tongue.
Among Christians gossip shows up in the form of prayer requests. We must be careful of the “Burden Bearers” prayer time. Otherwise we can quickly turn the prayer meeting into a gossip mill. That’s what UNSPOKEN prayer requests are all about.
Christians have classified sins and put them into categories. There are “acceptable” sins. I’m afraid one of them is gossip.
What is gossip – telling the truth in a way that exposes another person’s sin or weakness. Often embellishing the truth plays a part. Ephesians 4 tells us to speak the truth in love. Gossiping is not speaking the truth in love.
God gave us two ears and one mouth for a reason. We should listen twice as much as we speak.
We need to communicate positive rather than negative messages about people. If we don’t have something positive to contribute, let’s keep silent. Let a person tell his own story, we don’t need to tell it for him.
It’s so easy to gossip without thinking. I try to ask myself - Does it build up? Is it necessary? Is it true? Is it kind?
Gossip causes damage and harm to the body of Christ in more ways than one.
WHAT HAPPENED AT A SMALL COUNTRY CHURCH
The temperature soared to 105 degrees that afternoon as the Texas sun baked the ground. The high humidity made it hard to breath.
“Just like Mombasa, only worse!” thought Tim, chair of the pulpit committee. He once visited his sister who lived there as a missionary.
But the temperature outside didn’t compare to the heat inside where the deacons and the pulpit committee met to discuss Pastor Jerry.
Everything was ready for him to be presented to the church for a vote. The pulpit committee was excited and 100% behind Jerry and the direction he wanted to go. They were excited and took ownership of the vision to reach out into the community.
Then Jerry met with the deacons to present his burden and plan of action. The pulpit committee was also there. Not much was said. The deacons, all over 70, did not see the need for change. It was obvious they were not thrilled with Jerry’s vision.
They asked to meet with the pulpit committee. What took place then was mind boggling.
They didn’t want to discuss things with Jerry.
They misconstrued what he said. They had Jerry wanting to take over the church and use it to build up his own ministry.
They never heard what Jerry actually said. They twisted his words, perhaps unintentionally.
The deacons and their wives quickly shared the situation. Before the week was over everyone in the church “knew” that Jerry planned to take over the church. This was why he was never presented to the church for a vote.
The deacons were so afraid of change they didn’t want any more information. Instead they used gossip to get their own way.
This story is based on an actual event. Let’s watch out for the gossip mill!
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