Remind them of these things, charging them before the Lord not to strive about words to no profit, to the ruin of the hearers…. But shun profane and idle babblings, for they will increase to more ungodliness. And their message will spread like cancer. 2 Timothy 2:14, 16-17b
Have you ever gotten caught on something you’ve said about someone? Have they confronted you in regards to it, or when you’ve made some remark to an individual about someone they reply with “Yeah, they’re my friend”? The embarassment and shame that fills you is almost too much to bear in those moments.
Let’s turn the table now…how does it feel to know someone was talking about you poorly? or to overhear them doing so? Have you confronted that individual to open the dialogue and figure out what the issue is? This too is embarassing and often quite hurtful.
No good comes from idle babble. Paul even references it several times, but most pointedly in his letter to Timothy as he was struggling in leadership. I find this plays out no where more than in the church. True it happens with friendships and workplace chatter, but I’m finding more and more the church is being torn apart through the mouths of godly people. I’m not pointing any fingers here, except at myself. Upon some long reflection lately I’ve seen that I do more yapping than I do listening. I run my mouth rather than run after God.
What’s more, I’m ruining others in the process. I’m ruining those who I run to gossip to, and those I gossip about. I’m calling it what it is, cause all it is is purely gossip. What is gossip? It’s profane, ungodliness…Ephesians 4:25 says all gossip is good for is disruption, conflict, and destruction. Do I want myself to be synonymous with those words?
It also tears down…others and myself. It tears down relationships between brothers and sisters, friends, family members, and spouses. It breaks the intimate relationship I have with God Himself. It grieves Him to hear me air out stuff that is not meant for others to hear. No corrupt word is to proceed out of my mouth (Eph. 4:29), and as I am made in the image of Christ, my mouth should be only edifying and encouraging.
I’ve been truly convicted in regards to this in my own life and it’s something I can no longer shove aside. If I am to be a reflection of the Holy God above in all ways, my mouth needs to shut tight. I pray that for those of you who know me and read this, you’ll hold me to this as I do struggle in it. I’m praying for the strength only God can provide in staying my mouth when it is not edifying, encouraging, lifting up, or praising. There will be moments I have to walk away, I have to veer the conversation elsewhere, or I might be quite open and say “I cannot participate in this.” It’s torn down me for far too long, as I have torn down others. God wants to build, wants me to build for His kingdom.