Words can build up, but words can also tear down. They can be encouraging, pure and holy; they can also be insidious: sneaking and deceitful.
I seriously cannot believe some of the things that I have said in my life. Words that have left my mouth before my brain had a chance to catch up; and words that had been stirring in my mind for weeks. With my own words I have managed to tear those I love to shreds.
But some of the most damaging words are not said to the face, but in secret mutterings: Gossip, rumour, hearsay.
And how easy it is to get drawn into this. Yet how impossible it is to take back those words once they have come out.
Gossip is like a vine that twists around a plant squeezing the life out of it.
Gossip invades everywhere: our homes, our schools, our work places and even our churches. And it’s so easy to become part of it. It’s almost thrilling to be the first to be the first to have a little bit of information that no one else knows. It makes us feel powerful. And then we share it, even though we know its not ours to share. And somehow it gets twisted, someone misunderstands and passes it on to their friends, and somehow everyone knows the secret.
Or we join in with the group: “Did you see what she was wearing yesterday?” Asks someone. “I know, and her hair, what was she thinking?” then suddenly everyone is looking at you. You want them to like you so you find yourself saying “I know. You would think she doesn’t own a pair of tweezers with those eyebrows.” And your accepted, but at what cost?
Or maybe your concerned about your friend, so you talk to another friend about her…. Just so you can pray about it together, of course. Apart from you never actually get around to praying for her.
Gossip can be a currency, but it will only leave us broke.
All the shredding of peoples characters, all the misinformation we pass on as truth, all the gaps we fill in with assumption will one day be in the light. God knows all the words we whisper in private, and one day we will have to answer for them.
What you have said in the dark will be heard in the daylight, and what you have whispered in the ear in the inner rooms will be proclaimed from the roofs. (Luke 12:3)