Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Gossip Mill (05/08/14)
- TITLE: Keep Thy Mouth Shut!
By Julene Celander
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It was a dull, gray Wednesday afternoon and the Pastor’s wife was readying the family room for the weekly tea and Bible study session held every week in one of the church ladies’ homes. This was only the second week she would be attending, and the first week was something beyond belief. She and her husband were new to the church. Gossip at their former church had driven them away.
What she heard from the mouths of “Christian" ladies who were to lead by example reminded her of the song from 'Music Man'... “Pick a little, talk a little, pick a little, talk a little, Cheep cheep cheep, talk a lot, pick a little more”. Hadn’t any of them ever read Proverbs 12:18, “There is one whose rash words are like sword thrusts, but the tongue of the wise brings healing.”?
There was the door bell chiming out the sound of “Amazing Grace” announcing the arrival of her first guests. It was Ester and Elizabeth. She escorted them to the family room and told them to help themselves to tea, coffee, or juice and cookies. As she returned to the door greet three more ladies, she immediately heard Ester say, “Sugar cookies! Seems our new first lady doesn’t care about her figure or have any imagination when it comes to what to serve with tea.” Elizabeth smiled a quick smirk and nodded in agreement.
The last to arrive were Arlene, Connie, Susan, and Prudence. The pastor’s wife pointed them in the direction of the family room and went to hang their jackets in the hall closet. As she hung, she could hear, “Did you see Agnes’ hair this past Sunday? What a mess!” There was total agreement from the group and not one kind word. Then it was, “Who does that Isabelle think she is anyway? Why on earth would she sit with Mable? Why is Mable even allowed in the door! I have never known any bigger sinner in my life.”
Just as Mary, the pastor’s wife returned to the family room, she heard Connie state, “Well! If George can’t manage to find more than ten dollars to give the Lord every week, I don’t know why he even bothers.” “Amen, Sister,” exclaimed Arlene. “Ten dollars won’t get you any place close to Heaven.”
And so it went until the pastor’s wife took her seat and told them to please turn in their Bibles to Proverbs 18:21. Upon reading the passage, “Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruits.” The room fell into silence. The silence so deafening, only the gentle ticking of the clock was heard. Mary then had them turn to James 1:26, “If anyone thinks he is religious and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his heart, this person’s religion is worthless.”
At this point, Mary saw the looks of abasement and embarrassment on the faces around her and decided maybe it was time to encourage atonement and turned to 2 Corinthians 12:20-21. There she read, “For I fear that perhaps when I come, I may not find you as I wish, and that you may find me not as you wish-that perhaps there may be quarreling, jealousy, anger, hostility, slander, gossip, conceit, and disorder. I fear that when I come again, my God may humble me before you, and I may have to mourn over many of those who sinned earlier and have not repented…”. The gossiping ladies realized their unholiness and began asking God for forgiveness.
Mary decided this would be a good time to remind the ladies that Gossip can bring down a church and make it divided against itself. She had personally experienced just that. In closing she had two more verses for her newly repentant ladies. Luke 11:23, “Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters.” And, as her final word from God, she read 1Peter 3:10-11, “For whoever desires to love life and see good days, let him keep his tongue from evil and his lips from speaking deceit; let him turn away from evil and do good; let him seek peace and pursue it.”
The women all agreed they had found a very special first lady and from now on they would follow her example in being Christ-like. Wednesday afternoon teas would once again be Bible study and not gossip mills.
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