What are we fueling with our words? Are we adding wood to the fire of gossip and quarrels, or are we using our words to build others up for their benefit? It’s a tough choice, sentence by sentence, isn’t it? How will you use your words to please God today?
20 Without wood a fire goes out;
without a gossip a quarrel dies down.
21 As charcoal to embers and as wood to fire,
so is a quarrelsome person for kindling strife.
22 The words of a gossip are like choice morsels;
they go down to the inmost parts.
29 Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.
Like choice morsels… Gossip tastes so good, doesn’t it? What is it? Is it the juice of the gossip? The juicier the better, right? Or the meat of it? A good-sized piece of gossip can fill you up for days, no? Do you like your gossip saucy? Hot? Cold?
Sometimes gossip is the appetizer to our meals together as family or friends. We serve up the day’s gossip like an hors d’oeuvre which will get us started. Gossip is a launching pad into conversations and friendship. And that helps no one at all…
It doesn’t help us to maintain meaningful relationships. It certainly doesn’t help us to present the image of Jesus to watching world? And it doesn’t build anyone up to be what God wants them to be. Gossip tears people down.
Let’s call gossip unwholesome talk. God says don’t let it come out of your mouth. You can know it or have heard it and you can think about it. Just don’t propagate it. Don’t spread it. Rather, use your words wisely, knowing what is out there, to build up people according to their needs.
Gossip probably helps in one way. If you hear it, it helps you know someone’s need. The person may need to be encouraged because people are talking about them, they may be hurting, their marriage may be on the rocks. Use what you know as the basis for the Spirit to lead you into ministry. Not into the vortex of unwholesome talk.
Gossip-test yourself today. Can you make it 24 hours without participating and by stepping up as a builder of others?