“Knowledge is power, if you know it about the right person,” wrote Ethel Watts. Or, as Ivern Ball quipped, “A small town is a place where there is little to see or do, but what you hear makes up for it.”
In small towns or large cities, gossip wreaks havoc wherever it spreads. And it does spread, says Scott, 11: “A rumor is in all likelihood an expanded lie, which becomes larger as it goes along. A lot of rumors spread from jealous people who aren’t at peace with themselves and have a big mouth the size of a western African Safari Elephant.”
Thanks, Scott for being specific. Africans are quick to point out that their elephants are bigger than those in India. Like a charging elephant, a tongue out of control can destroy, says Maddie, 11: “You can never take back the words you say. Once I was called a bad name in the 4th grade. It hurt me very bad, but I decided to go up and face the world.”
Way to go, Maddie. It takes courage to ignore gossip. The Lord takes care of those who entrust themselves to him. The Book of Proverbs is full of sayings about how those who lay a trap for a righteous person will be caught in it themselves.
The Bible says this about Jesus: “He did not retaliate when he was insulted. When he suffered, he did not threaten to get even. He left his case in the hands of God, who always judges fairly” (I Peter 2:23 NLT).
If you gossip, you might find yourself living in fear, says Kaci, 10: “My sister was hurt by some mean gossip at school. But the boy is too afraid to tell more gossip about her now because her boyfriend is 6’4”.”
This is called the Terminator Method for controlling gossip. It’s very effective until the gossip gets a friend who’s 6’8”. For permanent results, Karlyn, 11, recommends the Golden Rule. “God said do unto others as you would have done to you. We don’t like it when people are rude and start rumors about us. So we shouldn’t do that to others.”
Your tongue needs the Golden Rule because “it’s the most powerful thing you have,” says Holly, 10. The Bible compares the destructive potential of the tongue to a spark that starts a forest fire. Both are small, but the effects are devastating.
The Bible calls anyone who can bring the tongue under control “perfect” or “mature” (James 3:2). If you’re a woman looking for the perfect man or a man looking for Miss Right, ask yourself if God is in control of his or her words?
“Gossip is wrong because the Bible tells us not to let any unwholesome talk come out of our mouths, and we should build up people with our words, not tear them down,” says Jonathan, 12. The Apostle Paul wrote that our words should “impart grace to the hearers” (Ephesians 4:29). The Bible is clear that eternal salvation comes to us by God’s grace through faith in Jesus Christ, and that this kind of faith comes by hearing the Word of God. It’s humbling to realize that God allows us to impart grace to others through the words we speak.
Think about this: Grace builds up, and gossip tears down. Memorize this truth: “If anyone does not stumble in word, he is a perfect man, able also to bridle the whole body” (James 3:2).
Ask this question: Do your words build up or tear down?
By Carey Kinsolving
Photo courtesy of Stock.xchng