Saturday, February 5, 2011

Trustworthy P31W: On Gossip and Slander

(Wow. My fingers feel so weird. I've been playing guitar for two hours and I am not a guitar player. Ow!)

If you have some delusional thought in your mind that gossiping and slander isn't going to be judged harshly by God - then ditch that thought, right now.  Read these next few verses. Don't think God is serious when He says bridle your tongue?

James 3:2-10 "For we all stumble in many ways. And if anyone does not stumble in what he says, he is a perfect man, able also to bridle his whole body. If we put bits into the mouths of horses so that they obey us, we guide their whole bodies as well. Look at the ships also: though they are so large and are driven by strong winds, they are guided by a very small rudder wherever the will of the pilot directs. So also the tongue is a small member, yet it boasts of great things. How great a forest is set ablaze by such a small fire! And the tongue is a fire, a world of unrighteousness. The tongue is set among our members, staining the whole body, setting on fire the entire course of life, and set on fire by hell. ..."

1 Peter 3:10 "For “Whoever desires to love life and see good days, let him keep his tongue from evil and his lips from speaking deceit.""

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."

Matthew 12:37 "I tell you, on the day of judgment people will give account for every careless word they speak, for by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.” 

There are many more I could add, but I didn't want to make this post too long. Man, these Scriptures speak for themselves though, majorly. If we want to be Proverbs 31 Women, then on thing we must must learn is how to control our tongue and we must have knowledge of what type of power lies in our words. Proverbs 12:18 says, "There is one whose rash words are like sword thrusts, but the tongue of the wise brings healing." According to this verse, our tongue holds the power of life and death (Also see Proverbs 18:21). We can tear someone down or build him up, heal her or make her sick.

Skipping ahead in the chapter, Proverbs 31 tells us, "She speaks with wisdom, and faithful instruction is on her tongue." If we want to be P31W we have to put this into practice in our lives and constantly evaluate what exactly is on our tongues. I know that I'm often found with slander and gossip on mine. What about you? Let's get honest with ourselves and really think about this. Don't try to down-play your problem in your head if you have one. Many girls, and guys too, have a problem with slander and gossip and forget that the power of life and death is on our lips. We forget that one day we will have to stand before heaven one day and account for it. So what is gossip and what is slander? 

Gossip: According to Google, gossip means "a report (often malicious) about the behavior of other people". And that is exactly what it is. "Hey, Sally, did you see how Jack and Jill just hung all over each other at...blah blah blah?" Yep, that's gossip.

Let's think about it this way. If we are striving to be Christ-like then we are going to be doing the best good for the most people and constantly be pointing them to Christ by our words, actions and deeds. When I say, "Hey Sally, guess what?" Who is benefiting? Who is being uplifted and encouraged by my words. Yes, Sally may know a little more than she did before, but at who's expense? Jack and Jill's. Whether we admit it or not, people we talk to are affected by our reports. Sally is not going to feel the same way about Jack and Jill after I tell her what I saw. Ephesians 4:29 puts it simply in one sentence, "Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen."  Before we speak, we have to ask ourselves. WHY am I saying this? WHO will benefit from this? And HOW can I be a light for Jesus Christ?

Slander: According to Google, (good ol' Google), Slander is an abusive attack on someones character or name. Basically, words said with the intent of hurting someone. This could range to a lot of things. Starting rumors, talking behind someone's back, or even something as seemingly small as being discouraging to someone.

I think slander comes from a deep place in our hearts. Most of the slandering that happens, comes from very insecure people. I think that (and I've felt and done this before to, I'm ashamed to say) when we slander others, we do it so we can stand higher. I've heard someone say it in a very understandable way. To paraphrase: We beat each other down with our words so we can step on their carcasses and stand higher. We want to be noticed, so we make sure that everyone around us, looks like nothing compared. I once heard a story about a man, who owned a company and he wanted to look handsome, so he employed the nastiest, ugliest people he could so that he would look like a model. I think this is kinda the same thing. We want to be heard, noticed, appreciated and pat on the back for being such a good what's better than making other people look bad, right? No, ladies. This is not the answer.

Once again, we will give an account for every idle word we speak.

So, you want to be a Proverbs 31 Woman? She is a woman who encouraged and spoke words of wisdom. She builds others up and stands up for her friends. She is a woman you can trust, because she will never speak an unkind word about anyone. She will never beat people down. When she speaks, people hear the Love of the Father in her mouth. You want to be a Proverbs 31 Woman? I do. I never will be, but I can try.

A Practical First Step: So yeah, we DO want to be P31W, but how do we do that when it seems like we can't even go in the bathroom at school with out someone saying,"Guess what?" Well, I have an idea. Whether it will work or not, I'm not sure. But we can try it. (I can't remember if I got this idea from someone else or if I thought it up? I'd like to think I did, but, oh well! Maybe it was Carlee who told me. I give her credit for all my good ideas, because she is the second half of my brain that I lost a while back...) I just put a rubber-band around my wrist. Not a hair-tie. A rubber band. For the next 30 days, I am going to purpose to not say a negative word about anyone, UNLESS asked by an adult with good intentions, someone is endangered, or it is mutually helpful to that person (like pointing out some areas people could do better in their dialogs. I have to do that.). And any time I forget and break that resolve, then I will snap that rubber band on my hand and stop talking, even if that means stopping mid-sentence.

Bathe this endeavor in prayer. Pray that God will cleanse you and put His words in our mouths instead. Will it be easy? NO! We're girls, of course not. So, get an accountability partner and have them do it with you. Maybe they will snap it for you when you forget. Hey, that'd be cool. Hopefully, after the 30 days, we will be trained not to speak a word of evil. Through this time, meditate on verses about our tongues and be thinking of ways we can intentionally build someone up!! Hows that for a reverse? 

Listen to your conscience, girls! If there is this part of you that says, "Perhaps, I shouldn't say this. DON'T!" You conscience is a gift that often (not always, though) will keep you our of trouble. If you feel something trying to stop you from speaking, then don't say anything. Our conscience is one way that God uses to teach us. It's your conscience that is going to remind you mid-sentence about the rubber-band on your arm. Rejoice that God has given you something that is constantly made more like His mind, so you can think clearer and make better decisions.

I'm glad I wrote on this topic. The Lord has used His Word to convict me and I'm looking forward to this crazy challenge. I'm praying for all of you girls (OR GUYS WHO MAY WANT TO JOIN US *HINT HINT* lol.). 

Psalm 141:3 "Set a guard, O Lord, over my mouth; keep watch over the door of my lips!" 

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