O Be Careful Little Mouth…and mind…and…

gos·sip/ˈgäsip/

Noun:  Casual or unconstrained conversation or reports about other people, typically involving details that are not confirmed as being true.

Have you ever had someone…whom you trust…tell you what someone else said about you and you were shocked.  You know…talking smack…as if to think you were somehow safe from it.  They said WHAT about me!?  GASP!  When you are the subject of gossip and someone else spreads something about you that isn’t true…and you in fact thought you could trust that person…it stings!  That happened to me a few months ago and I wasn’t quite sure what to do with it.   It made me wonder…whom can I trust?  Can people trust me?  I was a little shaken, I’ll be honest!

Or…have you had a situation where…again someone you thought was a friend…seems to rather speak to anyone else but you?  Or they seem to have absolutely no interest in you at all?  Or even worse…they completely ignore you?  I’ve had that recently too and it has been a difficult realization.  Has this person never really liked me?  At first I just decided not to let it bother me…then I thought perhaps I was being prideful or selfish…but then I realized…I’m just plain ol’ hurt. 

So…what do you do?  Do you confront the person?  Risk making things in which already feel awkward to you even more so to the other?  Or…do you just let it go?  Pretend as if it never happened?  Or do you just create distance?  Do you pray for them…or do you pray for them to stop doing it?  If someone else has a problem with me should they be the one to speak to me about it…and if they don’t…should I concern myself with it?  Or…do I pray for God to change my heart?  Hmmm….

You know…I wonder…how often do we hurt people and we don’t even realize we’re doing it?  In both of these situations there could have been good intentions at the heart of it.  Perhaps the person who was spreading what I see as ill truths was in fact concerened? Perhaps the person who would rather speak to someone else values the building of other relationships and feels mine with her is already established and solid? 

It is inevitable that people are going to talk…or ignore us.  It happens.  I’ve just really been convicted to really watch not only what I say and do…but take captive what I think.  And praying for an attitude adjustment for myself has been the best way to combat it.  God has shown me things from different perspectives that had I never asked Him to…I’d still be harboring hurt…and perhaps worse. 

I think what these 2 instances have taught me is that I need to really be concerned about my own behavior.  How I am treating others…both verbally and non verbally.  Sometimes…okay most of the time…I am so out-of-it wrapped up in my own head and what’s rattling around up there I don’t even realize what I am portraying.  I’m not the most observant person either so I’m sure I have completely ignored someone in the grocery store or out and about and not even known it (and if it was you I am SO sorry!).  Or I’ve said something not as politely as I should have or something came across totally the wrong way or I should’ve just kept my big mouth shut instead of putting my foot in it.  Sometimes it isn’t until later that I realize I must apologize and when the Holy Spirit convicts me I really try to follow through right away so I don’t forget.  But I know that I have completely missed instances where I have hurt others and sometimes I have the chance to apologize later…sometimes it’s a complete misunderstanding or just all around bad cirucumstances…but I have a feeling there have been way too many times I have just completely missed it.  If I have in any way done this to you, again…I am SO sorry!

Recently in my devotional I saw a quote by Thomas A. Kepmis that really struck me.  It said For all those whom I have in any way upset, angered, or hurt, by word or action, knowingly or unknowingly; may You equally forgive all our sins, and all our offenses against each other.  It made me wonder…how many times have I hurt Jesus and not even realized it?  How many times have I sinned and been completely oblivious entrenched in my own sinful nature.  How dare I hold what someone else has done to me or said about me against them when I’ve done it myself…not just unto others…whether knowing it or not…but to my Lord. 

While I’ve felt like I’ve been smacked my the talk of others…or lack thereof sometimes…I can only pray that what I’ve done or said to another whether I realized it or not did not hurt them.  God has changed my heart to want to love others…certainly not hurt them.  Sometimes praying for a change of heart can be hurtful…not by what others have done to you…but when you see what you may have done to another.  That little song we learned so long ago is playing over and over in my mind…O be careful little mouth…and mind…and ears…and eyes…and feet…and…

Set a guard, O Lord, over my mouth;  Keep watch over the door of my lips.  Psalm 141:3  NASB

Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.” The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’There is no commandment greater than these.”   Matthew 12:30-31

A bit in the mouth of a horse controls the whole horse. A small rudder on a huge ship in the hands of a skilled captain sets a course in the face of the strongest winds. A word out of your mouth may seem of no account, but it can accomplish nearly anything—or destroy it!

It only takes a spark, remember, to set off a forest fire. A careless or wrongly placed word out of your mouth can do that. By our speech we can ruin the world, turn harmony to chaos, throw mud on a reputation, send the whole world up in smoke and go up in smoke with it, smoke right from the pit of hell.

This is scary: You can tame a tiger, but you can’t tame a tongue—it’s never been done. The tongue runs wild, a wanton killer. With our tongues we bless God our Father; with the same tongues we curse the very men and women he made in his image. Curses and blessings out of the same mouth!

 My friends, this can’t go on. A spring doesn’t gush fresh water one day and brackish the next, does it? Apple trees don’t bear strawberries, do they? Raspberry bushes don’t bear apples, do they? You’re not going to dip into a polluted mud hole and get a cup of clear, cool water, are you?  James 3:3-12 The Message

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