Heart in the Clouds

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

On gossip and the power of words

"A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, 
and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. 
For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of."
Luke 6:45

Recently, there was a little thing going around on Facebook where a person would write a certain number of things about himself that people probably didn't know, and he would then challenge whomever "liked" his post to write a number of things about themselves. One of my friends challenged me to write 14 things about myself, so I did.

One of the things I wrote about was my hatred of gossip and about how I automatically don't trust people who constantly gossip about others. And that's true. But I don't hate it because I'm somehow above everyone else and never gossip myself. I do. I sometimes gossip when I'm feeling hurt or attacked, or I feel the urge to lash out or belittle someone in the eyes of other people. 

I think the real reason I hate it so much is because when I gossip it exposes something dark in me that I despise. Plus, it also exposes my massive insecurities.

For me, personally, recognizing that darkness in myself makes me want to avoid situations and topics where I'm prone to gossip. Not everyone feels the way I do about it, and that's totally okay because it's a personal thing. In my own journey, though, I have come to realize the hard way how powerful the spoken and written word can be.

Things people (even friends) have said about me have often gotten back to me without their knowledge, so it stands to reason that things I say about someone else could easily get back to them. It really hurts when you realize people you thought cared about you have said mean, sarcastic or belittling things behind your back. It's a big trust-breaker for me. In my heart, I know I don't want to cause lasting hurt over my momentary feelings, so I have decided to try my hardest to avoid gossip. Like I said, it's a personal thing.

There are things I've said about people in the past that I truly wish I could take back, but we all know that words can't really be taken back. Once they're out there, they're out there. I seem to put my foot in it fairly often and I've offended more people than I know, I'm sure, with the overflow of my heart coming out of my mouth (or out of my written words).

I've begun to try to really take the above Scripture to heart--not just in the area of gossip, but also in every other area where my words can have an effect. I have stopped posting about politics (because I generally don't have good things to say about anyone in that arena), and generally about most of my negative feelings. Taking the overflow of my heart seriously also makes me more aware of what I say to my kids and my husband out of my frustration, too. 

In the coming year, as part of my "resolutions" (hate that word), I really want to work on what's in my heart and having as much love and kindness in there as I can, so that whatever flows out of it will be as anger-free or hurt-free as possible. Words are powerful. We've all experienced their power in positive and negative ways. Positive definitely feels a lot nicer, though, don't you think?

"The tongue can bring death or life; those who love to talk will reap the consequences."
Proverbs 18:21

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