October 14, 2011
A Slice of Cheesecake, or Dirt?
"The words of a gossip are like choice morsels; they go down to the inmost parts." Proverbs 18:8 (NIV)
Get-togethers with my friends or family typically wind up the same way. The men gather by the grill or TV, and talk about music or sports. Meanwhile, the women congregate in the kitchen for some old-fashioned "girl-talk."
For women, people and relationships tend to be the common ground of conversation. We are the more emotional and relational gender. And of course we gather in the kitchen—it's the heart of the home. Plus, that's where the food is. After all, girl-talk is deliciously enhanced by coffee or cheesecake.
However, there is a side of girl-talk that is dangerous and addictive. It's called gossip.
Why do we gossip? I believe it's the same reason we do other things we know we shouldn't, like flirt with the boss, or gorge ourselves on cheesecake—because it's pleasurable.
In the case of gossiping, we like the feeling of being "in the know." At least for the moment, we can command everyone's attention. Eyes widen and adrenalin pulses as we tell our friends the unbelievable news. They hang on our every word.
Hearing gossip can make us feel almost as good as telling it—like we've been chosen and trusted with a secret. Gossiping feels good to everyone—except those who are the object of it.
When I look inward at my own motives for gossiping, what I see is not appetizing. I see pride, carelessness and judgment. I see a self-serving attitude that likes the feelings gossip brings. Although gossip may taste good at the time, just like too much cheesecake, it can negatively affect my well-being. Gossip goes down into my soul bringing with it the weight of guilt and sin.
I've come to realize that when I dish the dirt, or even listen to it, I'm serving dirt to my own soul.
Next time the girls gather, I've decided I'm going to fast from gossiping. I've pre-decided I'll redirect the conversation, or simply excuse myself to the bathroom when gossip arises. I don't wish to dish or devour dirt. When my heart is sensitive to God's, gossip only gives me a sick feeling later.
I will, however, have a cup of coffee and small serving of dessert. Which would you rather enjoy—a slice of cheesecake, or dirt?
Dear Lord, please forgive me for gossiping. I know that it hurts others and harms me as well. Help me be sensitive to when I'm starting to gossip and give me the courage to hold my tongue or change the subject. Fill me with words of wisdom, discernment and encouragement. In Jesus' Name, Amen.
For her favorite fall cheesecake recipe and a chance to win a copy of her book It's No Secret: Revealing Divine Truths Every Woman Should Know, visit Rachel's blog today.
It's No Secret: Revealing Divine Truths Every Woman Should Know by Rachel Olsen
God's Purpose for Every Woman a P31 Devotion book by various P31 authors with General Editors Lysa TerKeurst and Rachel Olsen
Pray the prayer above and commit to neither dish nor digest gossip today. If you read celebrity gossip online or in magazines, fast from that as well.
Have I ever jumped full force into a gossipy conversation? Have I regretted it later?
If I regretted it, how did I handle that regret? If I didn't regret it, what might that tell me about the condition of my soul?
God is fully able and willing to cleanse us of the dirt we've spoken or ingested.
Proverbs 11:13, "A gossip betrays a confidence, but a trustworthy person keeps a secret." (NIV)
2 Thessalonians 3:11-12, "Yet we hear that some of you are living idle lives, refusing to work and meddling in other people's business. We command such people and urge them in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ to settle down and work to earn their own living." (NLT)
Psalm 139:4, "Before a word is on my tongue you, LORD, know it completely." (NIV)
© 2011 by Rachel Olsen. All rights reserved.
Proverbs 31 Ministries
616-G Matthews-Mint Hill Road
Matthews, NC 28105
Originally published Friday, 14 October 2011.