Quiet and common notions...shared here...with you! Of life ~ our hearts and our home.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

that fine grey line

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Recently I received a "weighty" email from a good friend of mine.  We don't talk often, but enough "to stay in touch". 

I say weighty because within this email was a question, among brief sketchy details, about a quandary she was in.  She wondered if I could use a few adjectives to describe someone else- "to help her better understand"...this particular person.

It was a simple enough question, and the email was laced with complete "understanding" if I didn't want to reply.  I could tell my friend was, at best, bothered and wrestling.  Yet...

I was flattered - that she would want my opinion.  I happen to know this other person, too... so my response could have easily weighed-in to the dilemma my friend was having. 

BUT.    

I smelled the grey area.  The fine line... that is ALWAYS, ALWAYS present within and among women.  And sadly, more often then not, among Christian Women circles.

I remember many years ago...making a conscious effort to guard myself against the sin of gossip, (I knowingly have failed; many, many times over) but, this conscious thought, quickly, came to mind...as I read my friends email again and again, wondering how I should appropriately respond.

I let it go for a day or two to ponder and to pray.  By the way, I asked my friend if I could share this as an illustration.  She hesitantly said yes!... hoping that, perhaps, it would encourage someone else.

My husband has been so helpful for me - with this fine grey line.  I am one who so quickly will let here-say get to me.  I want or feel the need to talk about it to others to "figure out" if what I've heard is really true... sometimes it's been to the point of nearly destroying relationships.  Which is terrible.

Other times, I have been the bouncing board, the sponge, and/or the basket... all ears to absorb the "shocking news", soak it all up, or to gather enough information ...  just enough... to give my "humble opinion", when an opportunity arrives to do so.

Here is how and what my husband has brought to the table of our marriage relationship... which, again, has been so helpful to me. It puts me in my place and the wheels of verbal injury to a screeching halt.  I'll share it with you - too. 
Maybe it will be a blessing to someone else, here today. 

He'll stop me in mid-sentence with:

1. Did I (do something to) cause it?
2. Am I (personally) involved?
3. Can I "fix" it?

If not... (meaning, by saying no to all three areas)... then don't talk to me about it.  Period.  End of story.

Scott also likes to say; "Control the things I can, and the things I cannot control... then control my reaction to those things".

I think the devil loves to have a hay day with that ever-so-fine line.   But.  Greater is HE that is in us, than he that is in the world. (1 John 4:4-6)  Amen??


Your thoughts:  What do you choose to do with the fine, grey line of gossip? 
 What if its meant to sound like a prayer request, a need for your "humble opinion" or a plea for advice when really it is true-blue gossip?

Isn't life hard, to discern, sometimes??

8 comments:

  1. OH my goodness! What an awesome post! This is so true and has been a problem with me also at times. I am writing down Scott's 3 questions and posting them somewhere prominent in my house, like my fridge! Thanks so much for sharing this.

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  2. Mike and I were just talking about this yesterday! This is an area that is way too common a struggle for me. I think for me it was when the tables were turned that it finally hit home. Not in the "regular" gossipy way as in "So and so said this about you" - but in the "sanitized" way we like to do it - as in "So and so and I discussed this and we feel that you really need this". It was done, of course, for my benefit. How often I have "interpreted" people to other people - you know - for their benefit. When what I really should have done was told them to ask the person for their opinion instead of offering my version of their opinion to "help". Anyway I could go on and on. I think the biggest chalenge is to try to stay consistent in my "private life" as I am in my "public" life. In other words - is what I am about to say going to build anyone up? Would I feel comfortable saying this in front of that person? Would I be able to say "this is what this person is like" if they were standing there. Not trying to blog on your blog.... :) Just my thoughts....

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  3. Great post, Bevy. I appreciate the thought, prayer, and husband's advice that cumulated into something very useful for all of us.

    I have advice relating to this, but not exactly similar situation. An older woman told me how to handle the situations when someone comes with something veiled as "concern" or "prayer request" but you suspected motive or felt uncomfortble answering, knowing you might step from grey into darkness. She would immediately say, "We need to pray, not talk," and would lead that woman somewhere aside where they could pray together. If the woman wanted spiritual help, she got it. If her motives were askew, she wouldn't try that again. :)

    Your blog added to that earlier encouragement and I feel renewed in my heart and mind to not gossip, but handle situations effectively. I also loved the quote by your husband, will be trying to memorize that today. Thanks, sister.

    I loved the additional comments, too. They're like the hearty Amens!

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  4. Appreciate how you lead by example.
    There is that fine grey line,now we all can be examples, if we chose.
    Yes, Amen.

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  5. You have a beautiful blog! Living by an example is so important! I actually just stumbled on it looking for followers for my own! Im a first time author trying to promote my book! Its actually a Christian romance novel about a girl finding out who she is and how important her relationship with God is. I would love for you to take a look! www.wordsareinnermusic.blogspot.com
    Thanks! :)

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  6. Just remembering the pain I have felt when someone had been hurt by my gossip is a strong detriment. A lesson learned by life experiences and a hard lesson to teach anyone else.

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  7. fantastic post bevy!
    such good biblical advice.
    thanks.

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  8. Oh yes...gossip is dreadfully easy to participate in...but SO against God's Word! What wonderful questions your husband asks...nails it right on the head! :) May the LORD help us each to think before we speak...or listen! ;-)

    Blessings,
    Camille

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