I listened to a podcast on YANSS (You Are Not So Smart).  Don’t ask, I really can’t remember why. What caught my attention was the topic on gossip. Perhaps a further sermon series someday. Surely, one of the Wismers have something of interest to say. In this episode, psychologist Robb Willer explains why gossip is pro-social. That sounded strange to me.  Gossip as something that benefits the welfare of others and society as a whole. That just seems a bit odd to me. Why is gossip (particular if it is malicious) a benefit to anyone? That’s for another time.  But it did remind me of a story about a man who lived in the village of Paisley, west-central Scotland about 7 miles (or for you smart people 11 km) west of Glasgow. The man told the village a tale about another man — someone he obviously didn’t much care for. When the story got around it destroyed the man, his family, his job and his integrity. He was devastated and was forced to relocate. Well in time, the fellow who passed the story along discovered that it was false. He had helped destroy an innocent man with his tongue. He went to his wise old pastor and said, “Pastor, I have destroyed a man with my words,” and he told the whole story. “Please,” he said, “I am sorry — how can I be forgiven of this sin?”  The pastor told the man that this was not so simple, and told him to take a bag of feathers and place one in the front yard of every house in the village. Although the fellow thought this to be a strange request for a pastor to make, he really wanted forgiveness, so he followed the instructions to the letter. At last he came back to the pastor and said, “I have done all that you asked, may I now be forgiven?” “Not yet,” the pastor replied. “You must first retrace your steps and bring back to me every feather you placed in the village.” “But — I could never do that; the wind has carried the feathers away!” “Yes,” the pastor said, “and in like manner your words can not be taken back!”
This story and the podcast reminded me of a few things. Reluctantly, I admit, sometimes I say stupid and hurtful things. I know my words can be both creative and destructive. I also realize that what I say is my choice. I can choose to be more attentive and more disciplined in the words I say and in the way I speak them.  Faithful speech is to speak with a full awareness that everyone is created in God’s image and everyone has a place at the table.

Scripture Reading: Colossians 3:8
“But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth.

Reflection Questions:
How do you define gossip?
How are your words encouraging?
Who do you find difficult to accept at the table?

Prayer: Holy God, keep me mindful of the words I speak and let my voice be encouraging to others.  Amen.

To view previous readings click HERE