My guess is probably 0% of people asked would answer "Yes" to that! All the while probably nearly all of us have participated in gossiping about someone in the past week.
Well, "all" is just a guess, but whatever the percentage is it would- sadly- have to include myself.
However, lately the Lord has been dealing with me on the way I choose to use my mouth to speak about others.
That story is found in Genesis 9:20-23:
"After the flood, Noah began to cultivate the ground, and he planted a vineyard. One day he drank some wine he had made, and he became drunk and lay naked inside his tent. Ham, the father of Canaan, saw that his father was naked and went outside and told his brothers. Then Shem and Japheth took a robe, held it over their shoulders, and backed into the tent to cover their father. As they did this, they looked the other way so they would not see him naked.” (NLT)
Noah made a mistake. Oops. Well, that’s embarrassing.
And doesn’t that happen to us all? We make decisions, purposeful or not, that sometimes lead us into unforeseen and/or undesirable situations.
Suddenly it’s as if everyone knows you.
Suddenly everyone has a comment or opinion.
I’ve been there. It’s hard and it’s painful…and I don’t know about you, but I would much prefer Shem and Japheth’s approach over Ham’s.
I mean, what a contrast! In these verses we see immature, reckless Ham jolt out of the tent, eager to expose his father’s blunder…both literally and figuratively.
Conversely, Shem and Japheth— without hesitation— not only go in to cover their father but they “backed into the tent” to cover him “so they would not see him naked.”
Wow, what a response!
It seems to me to be a foreshadowing…
A picture of a Savior who would come into this world, covering our sin once and for all, never to be brought up again.
So the question remains:
If I serve a God who is so eager to forgive my sins and cover my faults, then why am I so quick to expose others?
My honest, straight-from-the-gut response?
To make myself feel better.
And it works, doesn’t it??
Talking about others can make me feel proud of even my less-than accomplishments…for a while at least.
But I cannot let my insecurities bait me into the grip of gossip.
I want to be a woman who speaks well— of my husband, my children, my family members, my friends:
I want to cover their faults and speak well of their God-given attributes.
I want to shroud their imperfections and point to their strengths.
I want to look past their mistakes into their potential.
Why? Because chances are they already feel the sting of shame and the last thing they need is one more person poking a finger at it.
Am I saying we’re supposed to overlook sin? No.
On the contrary the Bible says a one-on-one, heart and soul conversation that leads someone back on the path of truth “will cover a multitude of sins" (James 5:19-20).
But it has to be a well-intentioned heart-to-heart-- a one-on-one gentle covering that takes place, grace extended, heart changed. This is in stark contrast to gossip that circles around— exposing faults, pointing the finger, and bringing no benefit to anyone involved.
Today, every time you open your mouth to speak of your husband, a friend, a family member or someone you hardly know— stop and think: Is what I’m about to say covering them or exposing them?
If they are a Christ-follower and there’s sin involved, do the right thing and take it straight to that person— pointing them back on the path of truth.
On the other hand, if it’s a mistake, a fault, a difference of opinion, or even a simple personality clash— make the choice to cover them, drawing attention to their positive attributes, strengths and potential.
As women who have been forgiven much, let’s extend the same grace to those around us in need today