I sat there uncomfortable, listening as this respected leader shared with me details about another family that made me wonder about their character. It felt a lot like gossip, but I knew it couldn’t be since this lady was way too mature to do that. Right?
I decided to heed Mrs. Talkamuch words and use caution when interacting with the family with whom I had begun a friendship. By this lady’s words alone, I had allowed my perception about the Godrdefense family to change though I was suddenly feeling much confusion and unrest. Up until this moment I had only seen good come from them. I enjoyed them and they were an encouragement to my family, but still I trusted this “wise” woman’s words against them and began to distance myself immediately.
Over time I couldn’t help but continue to watch for fruit to be displayed in both families lives. I saw how the Godrdefense’s enjoyed much family time; their kids were respected in their high school and youth group. There was a genuine love for God and respect for each other in their home while the Talkamuch’s seemed to all live separate lives. Their kids knew howto say all the right things but the stories we heard from their peers told a much different story of their commitment to God. There was clearly a strain within the family relationships that hurt my heart. And then I began to notice another more subtle discrepancy. The well-respected Talkamuch’s weren’t just talking about the Godrdefefenses. They were talking about lots of people and what they were saying was certainly not expressing love and grace.
And then it happened. You know that feeling in your gut you get when you see someone you had a great connection with just last week and suddenly there is a different look in his or her eye? Their body language seems to put you at arms distance away from their heart. You begin to wonder if it’s just your own imagination until you notice a growing connection between them and a “ talks too much” person in your life.
And you just know.
It’s an unaddressable elephant in the room and you have a choice to make. You can become a “talk too mucher” and share your side of the story which will only cause your friends to be put in the middle of a tug-o-war, or you can find peace in knowing that God said He would be your defense.
Most of our closest friends began to act uncomfortable around us. We caught wind of some of the things being said about us, but we chose to stay silent. It was the most painful thing that I have ever personally walked through.
And just like He promised, God was the Godrdefenser’s family defense. We saw the consistent good fruit of their lives while the rotten fruit that theTalkamuchers had tried to hide began to seep like an egg misplaced at Easter.
Gossip is like a sneaky, deadly poison that slips into conversations and brings hate or death. It kills unity. It kills friendships. It produces the opposite of love’s best in people’s lives. It’s a demonic weapon that most of us have fallen prey to at one time or another. We have eaten of its tasty fruit in conversations. It can be so fun and make you feel so good. You feel like you are in the inner circle when a friend shares ugly things with you about another person. You feel so smart when you can make judgments about another person’s issues and solve their problems behind their back. Gossip tastes good on the lips … that is until it’s about you, because there is one thing that I have found to be true EVERYTIME.
Those who gossip to you will gossip about you.
I’ve been on all sides of gossip. Years ago when the Lord started convicting me of it I started recognizing how shallow a conversation was when it had nothing to do with sharing my own heart or hearing my friend share hers. Gossip keeps us both safe from rejection because we have shared nothing about ourselves.
And then there was the awkward stage in my repentance from gossip of sitting quietly in conversations because I didn’t know what else to talk about.
I finally realized I would need to find new friends who were willing to be real with me. Many of my old friends weren’t willing to change their verbal diet. So I had to dine elsewhere.
I’ve been the one who has been judged in secret corners of the church. Nothing hurts worse than expecting Christians to act like Christ only to be disappointed as they justify their behavior with scriptures taken out of context. Or worse, they just distance themselves from you without ever giving you a chance to make things right in your relationship with them. It happens and it hurts but God redeems it all.
Isaiah 54:17 NKJV, “No weapon formed against you shall prosper, And every tongue which rises against you in judgment You shall condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord, And their righteousness is from Me,” Says the Lord.”
They truth of our lives condemns those who bring accusations against us. The Bible refers to it as our fruit. It’s those things that are the byproducts of the way we live and love Him. A thriving marriage, strong friendships, children who make good choices, peace, God’s promises consistently displayed in every area of our lives are the fruit that we produce. And it doesn’t come from doing all the “right” things. Good fruit comes because of God’s grace through our intimate connection with Him.
We aren’t to judge each other’s motives but we are to be fruit inspectors. I was able to discern Mrs. Talkamuch’s level of maturity by the fruit displayed in her life. Though she was held in high regard because of her position, her gossiping tongue warned me to guard myself from her “wisdom”. I began to realize that though I loved her, I might not want to take council or share personal details of my own life with her. Judging her wasn’t the answer. I just needed to treat her fruit like I would a sugary dessert. Fill myself up on what is nutritious and life giving before I enjoy something that I know isn’t going to feed my vital organs. I can love my friend and enjoy her in moderation with strong boundaries, while being more purpose in cultivating friendships with more mature people who walk in love towards God and others.
Don’t be a gossip.
Don’t be a judger.
Love God. Love others and as you do, by His grace, you will produce good fruit in your life.
Know people by their fruit and let that determine how closely you will plant yourself near to them.
If you have been hurt by gossip, I am so sorry. I pray that God’s love would cover you and minister to you. I pray that He would be your defense and that He would redeem every wound that you have endured just like He has for me. That’s His heart for you. That’s His promise to you. So be it, Amen!
Category: Writer's Corner