“Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.”
Are you freakin’ stinkin’ kidding me? Have you ever had bad words spoken over you? I have, and I’ll take a physical punch any day over ugly words being spoken over my life. Physical wounds will heal with time; but wounds from trusted so-called friends, family members, and especially church members, afflict such deep bodily injury, sometimes the bleeding heart requires major surgery for survival. When it’s been ripped open and tortured so many times leading to its rawness, instead of healing internally, it constructs walls of isolation and/or gives birth to the Black Widow syndrome. We’re all fractured people to begin with, but adding insult to injury, that is just reiterating the point about “how judging a person does not define who they are, it defines who you are!” Ouch! Think about that powerful statement for a moment….
We all know her, we’ve been her ourselves if we’re going to be honest; that Black Widow who offers her opinion or interjection to others about another to lure us into the entrapment of the deceit contained within her web. The one who is threatened, or jealous, or just flat-out miserable because of her own junk and insecurities who will do what she can to slander the character of another. She has captivated her prey by the lure of her smooth talk; now you’re entangled in this mess without any hope of escape.
If we’re claiming the privileges in being Beautiful Beloveds of the Lord God Almighty, our words should be used to build up rather than tear down. The Bible exhorts us in James 1:26-27 that our mouths are the strongest force and deadliest weapon known to mankind and yet people fear and fret over nuclear war, earthquakes, tsunamis and raging forest fires. Those are natural disasters; the mouth is the downfall of mankind and if we keep the fuel lines of gossip going, then that fuel line will destroy everyone in its tracks. We need to sever and stop this destruction before it turns into a raging wildfire! This is not only leading to the division of our churches, but it is giving the enemy just what he wants. He plants that little seed and we quickly water and cultivate it all on our own with great attention!
Whose light are we reflecting when we gossip or when we’re huddled around a table of food talking about another that is not present? Believers are supposed to be the light, the salt, the preservative that illuminates the bright sites that reflect God’s love and glory (Matthew 5:13-16). If we speak in love, we won’t be polluting a world that is already dirty and dark enough. We need to take that energy and start sprinkling the love of Jesus onto the people in this world to help clean it up. We’re the ones showing the world what God’s kingdom is like through our conduct and character. No wonder there is so much ugly talk about Christians; I couldn’t agree more. This tender heart is pleading that we take action by pouring out more love so we can change this vicious paradigm we’re living under.
Talking about another without their presence is gossip, period! We all know how a few words received can be different than actually spoken and then passed on quite differently. If the person is not there, the words spoken can’t be confirmed or denied or even explained. Plus, there’s not enough precious time in life to waste it on talking about others. If you have lots of free time, then you either need a job or Jesus; probably both! When I am with my girlfriends, this time is a treasured gift to me and I sure am not going to waste any of that precious time connecting talking about another. If that other person insists on talking about others, change the subject and/or do what one of my amazing friends did.
A good example on how to deal with innocent conversations that could lead and turn into gossip real easy is when people were coming to her about the ugly side effects of my chemo treatment and inquiring about what happened instead of going directly to the source, me. She handled it beautifully by saying, “Ask Tammy. It’s Tammy’s story, not mine to share.” We may have good intentions on asking about others, but honestly, if you’re really concerned, you’ll go to the person yourself. That’s one of the beauties of technology; saying hi and reaching out while being concerned for others takes a matter of seconds, and it sure will brighten the other person’s life on the other end to receive it.
Too many believers feel they can rise above the effects of casting this deadly web of sin because it is only gossip, you know, the lesser sin. Sister or brother (men do it as well), I’m afraid to tell you, but your gossip is just as bad as murdering someone and committing adultery. No sin is greater and/or lesser than other sins; sin is sin in God’s eyes! So the next time you’re tempted to gossip about another or engage in listening to it, just imagine yourself stabbing that precious soul repeatedly in the heart and maybe it will put a permanent gag in it.
Let’s join in a challenge to start lifting each other up, through the building up and encouragement, and not tearing down and demolishing each other with our careless words! We need to focus on bringing unity in our communities and understand how we got where we are. We can start by remembering that God’s greatest commands are “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your might, and love your neighbor as yourself” (Matthew 22:37-39).
The condition of our heart is revealed by what comes out of our mouths, so let’s start first by taking the time to spend it in the Word and allowing the Lord to search those deeply recessed parts that are full of infectious disease so the Lord can have some room and bring about healing. This way we’re not damaging others by spewing out our venom onto others or closing ourselves off from their love that He orchestrated.
Beloved, sadly all of us, including myself, get hurt from ugly words said by another. We have to remember that when, not if, we find ourselves tearing down others or talking about others outside of their presence, there’s something in us that needs healing; something that needs to be cleansed and filled up with the love that only the Lord can fulfill. Tearing others down just means we’re not dealing with our own hurts so we become obsessed with the sins of others by dropping little morsels of deceit to spin the web of destruction!
Since I am high maintenance, I go to Jesus, get at His feet, and snuggle in tight quite often. This allows me the opportunity to cry and release and throw my Tammy Tantrums so I can receive His tender mercies of grace and love. This is the only way I can keep getting back up and go on knowing where my confidence and self-worth derives from; that’s perseverance. Now, to be honest, it doesn’t mean that I didn’t ask God to knock ’em out for what they did and said, because I would be sinning, by lying, that I didn’t ask and feel that way; but the Lord healed my pain so I could get back up and embrace life while praying for them at a distance. ♥
God blesses us with girlfriends who not only love us, but who help hold us accountable when our conduct needs critiquing and change. It’s okay, we all need help and we all need safe and trusted friends! Because I found myself surrendering to the control and opinions of others and not who God said I was or was not to do, I had lost my peace and patience and was ready to download. Since God knew I was becoming entangled in this web of deception, a prisoner to the voices of the enemy and being held captive by fear and condemnation, God used an amazing accountability partner to hold me accountable for my actions and who helped me navigate through the pollution that was clouding my judgment. Because I was being betrayed by what was occurring, that is when God raised up my beautiful girlfriend, Dr. English, to speak words of truth over and through my life clearing the pollution to see the beauty that actually lies ahead. Through her own experiences, she shared that because God calls us “to shine light on the musty dusty dark corners…you know what happens…the rats scurry about. Why? Because like it or not, satan is hiding in the church waiting to make strongholds! And satan is an ass!” Indeed, he is just that!
When we become stale from being closed in and closed off, sequestered behind our walls of isolation that pain and lack of trust builds, satan has the power to trap us into thinking that the fresh air brought in by divine light is plagued with the sin that has so easily entangled us through the deadly effects of the venom from the black widow spider! Not everyone has bad intentions; that’s our own junk. We need to let go of the pain so we can receive His love and the blessings He is trying to bestow upon us! What a reiteration of Psalm 118:8-9 that says, “It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in man. It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in princes.”
Romans 8:14-17 alerts us to the fact that if we’re adopted into the family of Christ, we gain not only our inheritance and rights into eternal life with God, but it also requires the responsibility in living out that privilege. Jesus’ life emulates love and we’re supposed to mirror that reflection. Let’s share God’s golden treasures through our identification and inheritance in being a Beloved of Christ; let’s share those golden nuggets through encouragement and support; living and loving as Jesus did, resisting the temptation to live according to the ways of the world; and do not isolate. And when we falter, go and make amends! It’s really not that hard and extremely rewarding!
Father God, I thank you for showing us that “the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control” (Galatians 5:22). I pray blessings over my sisters that they will be empowered to “not become weary in doing good,” and that as they have the opportunity, to “do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers” (Galatians 6:9-10). I pray also that all those negative and ugly words that have ever been spoken over us Beautiful Beloveds are bound, released, and thrown into the pit of hell where they belong; and that you heal the damage and the scarring that was brought about by such ugly words and actions. Tear down those walls of isolation! Thank you for loving us like no other. Oh, how we need you and love you. Thank you, Jesus! Amen!