Have You Heard?
This is one of my favorite weeks of the year! I wish I could tell you it was for a spiritual or noble reason, but it is not. It is one of my favorite weeks because it is the week leading up to the Major League Baseball Trade Deadline! For those of you who do not share my enthusiasm for professional baseball, this is the last week that teams can make a trade to make their team better in advance of the upcoming playoffs. (Or, if your team is out of contention, this is the last week they can trade players with a lot of value to teams who might give them young, Minor-League players upon whom the team can build its future). It is an exciting time as things often go “down to the wire” and trades are not completed until the last minute.
As a fan, part of the fun of the Trade Deadline is trying to guess who your team will trade for (or trade away). In recent years, with online fan communities, this has become even more fun. I have spent (too) much time lately on Tampa Bay Rays fan pages talking with other fans about what the team will or should do. I have even become friends with a relative of one of the Tampa Bay players and that has greatly changed my perception of the significance of trading a player. Before recently, I never gave much thought to what it meant to a player and their family when “trade talk” is rampant. Can you imagine having thousands of people online debating whether you should keep your job or if the team would be better off getting rid of you? It must be horrible!
While few of us have to worry about being “traded”, most of us do know what it is like to be gossiped about. Unfortunately, this talk is often harmful and discouraging- whether or not it is even true. While most people will say that they don’t like being gossiped about, that rarely stops us from listening and spreading it when we hear it. We as God’s people need to do better.
The topic of gossip is so important that it is included in God’s command in the Ten Commandments about not bearing false witness. Instead of tearing people down, we are help them guard their reputations and build them up in love.
A few Scriptures about gossip put it this way:
The mouths of fools are their ruin; they trap themselves with their lips. Rumors are dainty morsels that sink deep into one’s heart. Proverbs 18:7-8.
You must not go around spreading gossip against people. Don’t do anything that would put your neighbor in danger. I am the LORD. Leviticus 19:16
As God’s people, we have much better things to talk about! We have a powerful, loving, compassionate God who has sent his son Jesus to rescue us from sin. We have had our lives changed by the power of the Holy Spirit. These are the things we can and should talk about! When you find yourself tempted to listen to or to spread gossip, ask God to help you share the news about HIM instead. Now THAT is something to talk about!
Heavenly Father, help us to guard our hearts and minds from idle gossip. Help us seek to defend and build up instead of tear down and destroy. Give us opportunity to share the best news- of your love and compassion for people. In Jesus name, Amen.
~ Eric Gerken | Director of Family & Youth Ministries
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