My jaw dropped. My heart raced. My face flushed. I was being called out in front of an entire classroom full of my teenage, female peers. I was an accomplice in a hurtful display of gossip and treachery- and I was caught. I found myself, tears pouring down my face while burning a hole into the desk under my hands. Some friends of mine were angry with another friend and wrote out a very nasty note to her. They then asked me to re-write it for them- so that the girl would not know who had written it out. (Not my smartest moment…as I agreed to do it for them during a movie in Mr. Essink’s darkened English classroom…agh!)
There I sat. Disapproving glares and stares from those who were innocent burning through my body. I felt their eyes everywhere as I admitted to my guilt. My coach, who I greatly respected, voiced his disappointment in us, but mostly in me. He had never expected this behavior from me, as I was “a good Christian girl…” Those words rang through my head for YEARS.
I have asked for forgiveness for my past crime. But, THE PAIN! …the pain I inflicted upon my friend, still haunts me. I was terrible. And still, even as I acknowledge my past, I still find myself tempted and have succumbed to gossip since then. Will I ever learn to keep my mouth in check? (And for some comic relief… I am now revealing a photo of myself and an amazing friend in high school… yes– this did happen!)
We, as women, do not generally have control of our tongues. But, I wonder… is it our tongues that need the change—or is it our minds?
Are we complaining when we unleash our words?
Do we believe that we are not being treated fairly or that we are not receiving enough credit?
Do we think we are “above” something?
Did someone hurt our feelings— (how DARE they?!?)
Do we not agree with something (no matter how ridiculous it appears to others?)
Do we believe that we can do better?
Do we want to be the first to share some new SHOCKING news?
And yet, all of these reasons comes back to… wait for it… PRIDE. I admit it. I am prideful. Because when it comes to gossip—it’s all about “me.”
If everything is about “me,” then do we truly love others as Christ called us to do?
James 3:7-10 This is scary: You can tame a tiger, but you can’t tame a tongue—it’s never been done. The tongue runs wild, a wanton killer. With our tongues we bless God our Father; with the same tongues we curse the very men and women he made in his image. Curses and blessings out of the same mouth!
10-12 My friends, this can’t go on. A spring doesn’t gush fresh water one day and brackish the next, does it? Apple trees don’t bear strawberries, do they? Raspberry bushes don’t bear apples, do they? You’re not going to dip into a polluted mud hole and get a cup of clear, cool water, are you?
13-16 Do you want to be counted wise, to build a reputation for wisdom? Here’s what you do: Live well, live wisely, live humbly. It’s the way you live, not the way you talk, that counts. Mean-spirited ambition isn’t wisdom. Boasting that you are wise isn’t wisdom. Twisting the truth to make yourselves sound wise isn’t wisdom. It’s the furthest thing from wisdom—it’s animal cunning, devilish conniving. Whenever you’re trying to look better than others or get the better of others, things fall apart and everyone ends up at the others’ throats.
17-18 Real wisdom, God’s wisdom, begins with a holy life and is characterized by getting along with others. It is gentle and reasonable, overflowing with mercy and blessings, not hot one day and cold the next, not two-faced. You can develop a healthy, robust community that lives right with God and enjoy its results only if you do the hard work of getting along with each other, treating each other with dignity and honor.