Thoughts from daily Bible reading for today- March 6, 2011
“A gossip betrays a confidence; so avoid a man who talks too much.” Proverbs 20:19
Not only is talk cheap, but too much of it can be lethal. Excessive talk can maroon a marriage, derail a deal, alienate close friends and offend acquaintances. Measured words are always the most meaningful. These wise nuggets are to be spent purposefully. Words are not designed to impress; rather, they are to encourage and instruct.
We all fall into this trap from time to time. We want others to believe we are significant, so we use words to prove our point. Our words describe how much knowledge we have acquired, who we know, what we do, where we live, what we drive, where we have traveled and, of course, how great a family we have been blessed with.
If we are not careful, we can subtly (and sometimes not so subtly) hijack words for our own promotion and validation—especially as you dive into your relational portfolio. This requires as much discretion as if you were discussing your personal finances. Most people are forgiving until you disclose personal information.
It doesn’t matter if your disclosure is intentional or inadvertent. The results are the same—hurt and embarrassment. This personal trust is much more valuable than money.
Discretion needs to be in control of any discussion about anyone. Otherwise, you are flirting with gossip and the betrayal of a confidence. I struggle with this. My flesh wants recognition for the important people I know.
After all, if you are impressed with my contacts and credentials, I will feel more valued and important. Or, in another scenario, you unwisely reveal confidential information in the form of a prayer request. You cannot wrap wrong actions around spiritual activities and language. This is doubly bad. This prayer should be for my discretion rather than my disclosure of juicy gossip. By God’s grace, correct this in your own life and avoid others who commit these same errors of indiscriminate living.
Conversational etiquette can be learned. Even a silent fool is considered wise at times. Many times wisdom is found in what you don’t say instead of what you do say. Word restraint is a sign of maturity. Yes, by all means be transparent but with a governor. Trust and confidentiality grow through experiences of faithfulness between parties. As discretion is demonstrated, more trust and information is given.
When you find a confidant, you have found a good thing. Their lips are sealed. Your stored information resides in the airtight vault of their heart and mind. They are there for you, not for themselves. They are secure in Christ and have no reason to prove anything to anyone. Not only do these treasured friends not gossip, they despise it in others. In fact, they are so bold as to interrupt a gossip in mid-sentence and ask them to cease before they make a fool of themselves.
Yes, we need to pray for others snared by sin or who are in a career free fall. And prayer for others means we talk with God. We posture ourselves humbly before God in heart and mind, crying out as their advocate. We ask for mercy, forgiveness, healing, restoration and reconciliation. It is an attitude of compassion and grace.
We are willing to put our good name on the line for our hurting brother or sister in Christ. We talk to God on their behalf rather than to others for our benefit. This is one remedy for excessive talking: throttle back our words to people and increase our words to God. In essence, to avoid gossip and gossipers, talk more to God and less to people. Increase Jesus’ words and decrease people’s words. This is a word to the wise!
Taken from Dose 45 in the 90-day devotional book Infusion.
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