Be Still Know
Psalm 101:5a (NLT)
‘I will not tolerate people who slander their neighbours. I will not endure conceit and pride.’
Jesus left us three gifts; His Spirit, His Word and each other. The first two are most satisfactory, only the third causes significant challenges. Quite simply it is tough getting on with others. When I am upset I am tempted to let my first port of call be a sympathetic ear into which I can lay waste to another person’s character and motives, while reflecting how well I have behaved throughout and end up being the injured party. Mediator jargon for this is ‘triangling’, talking about a person rather than to the person.
I have done well at speaking ill of others. It doesn’t feel as if I am at the time, yet with hindsight it is all about me being at the centre of my own world. Justifications flow and with no room to acknowledge conflict might have more than the one source. I wonder over the years if my failure in many relationships is due to my caustic tongue and its propensity to gossip.
I’ve struggled to move myself from the centre of my own universe. I know that I have thoughtlessly spoken of others when not present in ways that are less than complimentary.
God detests gossip. Indeed St Paul identifies it as something that will prevent any one of us from entering into eternity. How easily I judge others. How little I consider my own sinfulness. Judgment lies at the heart of all lifeless religion. It was the primary criticism Jesus had of the Pharisees. It remains today the least attractive characteristic of Christian and church practice today. We seem obsessed with what we are against and pretty ineffective at articulating what the Christian message brings to enrich society at large and enable each individual to flourish.
It is time for me to leave judgment to God and find both the courage and the communication skills to speak directly with anyone who upsets me or with whom I disagree.
QUESTION: How well do you speak about others? Do you gossip about people?
PRAYER: Lord God, help me to speak of others as I would have them talk about me and forgive me for when I have failed in this.