So too the tongue is a tiny part of the body, yet it boasts great things.
A few months ago I found myself sharing with my husband some things a friend had shared with me in confidence. I shared no intimate details, but just enough to get his view of the situation and some advice as to how to handle it.
But that had been enough to change my husband's view of that person. Just a few minutes into our conversation I wish I had never opened my mouth.
Then the next morning, as I was doing an online Bible Study, the Lord began to show me the other times in my life where I have done the same thing. I have shared a friend's precious secrets under the guise of "needing prayer" or "just venting" or "wanting advice."
And suddenly I became aware that I do this multiple times a day, with every conversation I have. A little complaint here, a little venting there, and I have been pulled in to the very thing I have always hated...gossip.
A gossip goes around revealing secrets, but a trustworthy person keeps a confidence.
I have caused more heartache than I probably know, and probably more drama. And the worst is that I have hardened the hearts of people towards those they have never even met. My husband and I have been the center of gossip before, and we didn't even know it until months later. It hurt a lot to learn that we had been talked about to people we didn't interact with or even know. To think I may have caused someone else the same pain!
I didn't start out looking to slander anyone's name or reputation. I started out with what I call "good gossip." I wanted to share all the good things the people in my life had done with the other people in my life. But it's so easy to slip from the good someone has done to the little things they do that are different from us. Then to the things that irk us. Then to the bigger issues of our relationships with them. Until it's hard to see the good in that person and only the irritations and short-comings.
It's one thing to seek advice from a mentor or friend for my own issues and struggles. But when it comes to the issues and struggles of others, I want to keep those between the Lord and them. I want to pray with the person and trust that God will sort it all out in their hearts. And if I must vent, I will vent to my journal and the Lord or go for a walk. Maybe invest in a punching bag.
I want to be a woman above reproach. That goal seems so insurmountable. Especially in the light of this new revelation that my heart is not where it should be. But my Father is the Lord of new mercies and new creations. Create in me a pure heart, oh God, and renew a right spirit within me!