When I think about sin and how I fall short–which I try not to do very often–I think I am most guilty–and most frequently guilty–of saying unkind things about other people. It’s an age-old human weakness that James writes about in the New Testament.
The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole body, sets the whole course of one’s life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell. … It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison.
With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse human beings, who have been made in God’s likeness. Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers and sisters, this should not be. Can both fresh water and salt water flow from the same spring? My brothers and sisters, can a fig tree bear olives, or a grapevine bear figs? Neither can a salt spring produce fresh water.
These are harsh words, but words I need to hear.
I think of myself as a kind person. I want people to know and experience God’s love, and I try to show that through my interactions with others. But I get sucked into office gossip. When someone irritates me, the urge to vent has me reaching for my phone. When someone sends an email that sets me off, I find myself hitting “forward” and dashing off a “Can you believe this?” message to a friend. When I see comments or tweets on social media complaining about other comments or tweets, I want to trace them back to the source and then jump in with my own.
I like to believe that my venting is harmless, but if I really think about it, I am sure that some of my words could be hurtful to the person I am venting about.
(Gosh, that is hard to write–so hard to admit in black-and-white.)
I am trying to stop myself before unkind words escape my mouth–or my fingertips. Realizing that my emails, tweets and Facebook posts may someday comeback to haunt me, I try to delete snarky comments before I hit send. It is not easy to sit in silence with whatever injustice I have suffered, but if I can’t share my side of story without possibly hurting someone else, it is probably a story that does not need to be told.
May the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart be acceptable to you, O Lord.
~Psalm 19: 14
Do you get sucked into gossip?
Are you able to filter your words for kindness?