Four ministers met for a friendly gathering. During the conversation one priest said, “Our people come to us and pour out their hearts confessing certain sins and needs. Let’s do the same. Confession is good for the soul.”
In due time all agreed. One confessed he liked to go to movies and would sneak off when away from his church. The second confessed to smoking cigars, and the third one confessed to playing cards. When it came to the fourth one, he wouldn’t confess. The others pressed him saying, “Come now, we confessed ours. What is your secret or vice?” Finally he answered, “It is gossiping and I can hardly wait to get out of here.”
The Apostle James reminds us, “The tongue is a small thing but oh what enormous damage it can do” James 3:5 (NLT) The old adage “sticks and stones may break my bones but names will never hurt me” is not true. “During World War II, the United States government became concerned that a number of German spies were operating in America, sending information back to Germany regarding Allied war plans and specific troop and ship movements. To keep them from impacting the war effort, the Office of War Information launched a national campaign around the slogan “Loose Lips Sink Ships.” It was a solemn warning to people not to repeat information that might be damaging, or even deadly, if it fell into the wrong hands. Unfortunately “loose lips have sunk many a ship” when it comes to relationships, ministry and the wellbeing of many organizations.
Here are some things that can help us from “Ministry Advice” as we build stronger patterns of speech…
#1. Promote Unity and Love…Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, so that it will give grace to those who hear.—Ephesians 4:29
· Share information with only those who can legitimately contribute
· Immediately shut down gossip when you hear it
· Protect the victims of gossip
#2. Define it…Here are some definitions to help you get started:
· Rumour: any unverified information
· Slander: false or malicious information with the intent to harm
· Gossip: sensational talk passed on because of its “juicy” nature, whether true, rumour, or slander
#3. Reflect on what the Bible says…communicate its significance!
· You shall not bear a false report; do not join your hand with a wicked man to be a malicious witness.—Exodus 23:1
· If anyone thinks himself to be religious, and yet does not bridle his tongue but deceives his own heart, this man’s religion is worthless.—James 1:26
· Do not speak against one another, brethren. He who speaks against a brother or judges his brother, speaks against the law and judges the law; but if you judge the law, you are not a doer of the law but a judge of it.—James 4:11
· He who conceals hatred has lying lips, And he who spreads slander is a fool.—Proverbs 10:18
· He who goes about as a talebearer reveals secrets, But he who is trustworthy conceals a matter.—Proverbs 11:13
· A perverse man spreads strife, And a slanderer separates intimate friends.—Proverbs 16:28
· For lack of wood the fire goes out, And where there is no whisperer, contention quiets down.—Proverbs 26:20
May our speech aim for unity. May our speech build others up. May our speech be gracious and well informed and may our speech echo the Good News of Jesus' love.
God bless you. Remember, God loves you and He wants our best speech