Listen to this devotional:
Matthew 12:34-35 – O generation of vipers, how can ye, being evil, speak good things? for out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh. A good man out of the good treasure of the heart bringeth forth good things: and an evil man out of the evil treasure bringeth forth evil things. (KJV)
After calling a friend of ours to encourage him and his wife, to convey our love for them, and to let them know that our prayers go with them, my wife and I once again turned to our Lord in prayer for our friends. Our friend has been waiting for two years to have the opportunity to defend himself against charges brought against him. During this two-year period, there have been times of insults by the media, which seem to bask in delight at twisting words in order to paint the worst story.
Proverbs 26:20,22 – Without wood a fire goes out; without gossip a quarrel dies down. The words of a gossip are like choice morsels; they go down to a man's inmost parts. (NIV)
It's disturbing the way the general public gossips regarding the matter. But what's really most disturbing is the way Christians join in the gossip! Whether the man is innocent doesn't concern them. (I believe he is.) It's a great story, and obviously talking about it seems to make the ones talking feel good about themselves, since they are better than that. They don't stop to consider the harm they are doing to this man and his family.
I was personally blessed after our conversation. He has many friends and is still active for the Lord, even while anxiously waiting to defend his integrity after the onslaught.
So true is the saying: Wise men talk because they have something to say; fools, because they have to say something.
As I have reflected on our friend and the things we've heard, it has been a lesson to me. How often have I said things that ought not to have been said? How many times have I injured someone with ungraceful words behind their back? So often, a person's integrity is ruined as folks secretly gossip behind people's backs when they can't even defend themselves.
Prayer: Heavenly Father, help us to weigh our words before we release them. Help us to speak words of grace seasoned with salt. Help us to have hearts of love to guard our words. May we not only read Your Word but live it, and be faithful examples of Your love in the midst of a wicked and perverse generation. If we have anything to say to anyone, help us to be true friends and confront that one in love rather than destroy someone's integrity behind their back. If we have nothing good to say, may we have enough love in our hearts to refrain our tongues from saying anything! In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, we pray. Amen.