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“Have you Heard that Luke is a Mess?- Jan. 27

January 27, 2013

“They are gossips, slanderers, haters of God, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, foolish, faithless, heartless, truthless.” Romans 1:29b-30

The weather broke a little yesterday.  We made it above freezing so I thought I should make the most of it and clear our driveway and walkways of as much ice as possible.  In the midst of my toil, Luke Skywalker felt that I should give him some attention.  Luke Skywalker (aka Lukey) is our cat.  As you might surmise by his name, we got Lukey several years back when my son was in a heavy Star Wars phase.  Lukey is an outdoor cat who really thinks he should be an indoor cat.  He loves to lay on my lap and be combed and petted.Luke

He has a very effective method of informing me that he feels he has received inadequate affection.  He will sneak-up on me; walk-up my leg so that he is standing on his hind paws, sink the claws in and just hang from my pants.  It is very effective.

I put my shovel down and picked up Lukey and proceeded to scratch him in all the places that he likes.  It provided me with an opportunity to tell him what I thought of him.

Winters are a little rough on long-haired cats.  I told him that he was looking horrible – his hair is starting to get all matted up.  His appearance is embarassing.  He really needs to do something about that.

As I have said, it has been very cold and Lukey hasn’t been too interested in going outside our garage.  He actually pooped in the garage.  I told him that his behavior was very uncouth and that I was gravely offended by how rude and gross he had been.   He really needs to get some manners.

When the cats are doing their job of hunting mice, they usually leave little tokens of their endeavors on our back step in the form of mouse remnants.  I have noticed a lack of remnants as of late.  I told him that he was getting pretty lazy and that he was getting too accustomed to living off of the system (me).  He really needs to get back to work.

I got the cats a mat that heats when they lay on it.  I had hoped that both cats, Lukey and Gray Kitty would share the mat. (Gray Kitty was a stray cat that adopted us.  She wasn’t our cat so we just started calling her grey kitty.  She decided we were her new home and her name sort of became, Gray Kitty)  Lukey is not very good at sharing and chases Gray Kitty away.  I told him that he was not respecting Gray Kitty; he was being very self-centered.  He needed to learn how to share.

I told Lukey all of this while I scratched him into feline bliss.  He took it pretty well.  He looked up at me through one narrowed, indifferent eye and leaned into my hand when I hit a particularly good spot and he let a giant glob of slobber escape the corner of his mouth to drip onto my lap.  Lukey is a sloberer.

He is a mess.

I will admit that my assessment of Lukey was not very kind or loving but he did not know what I was saying.  As far as Lukey’s concerned, he thinks that he is the king.  He thinks that I adore him – I drop what I do and acquiesce to his demands for affection.  I think that he would be shocked if he really knew what I was saying.

Does it matter that Lukey didn’t know what I was saying?

What if Lukey was not a cat but a person?  What if I told someone else all my opinions about Luke, the person?

It is all true.  What is wrong with speaking the truth – won’t the truth set you free?  Isn’t the truth cathartic?

I think that pretty much anyone would be gravely offended if I talked about them in such a way behind their backs.  No one likes someone to gossip about them.  Gossip is when we speak about someone in a decidedly unkind manner without them knowing.

Gossip is bad and it hurts when it is done to you. 

Just look at all the other characteristics that Paul lumps gossip in with: slander, God haters, insolent, haughty, boasters, evil inventors, disobedient to parents, foolish, faithless, heartless, and ruthless.  That is not good company.  Gossip is very serious.  Gossip is sin and it is a lot more serious than it is typically treated.

I think that it might be treated in such an indifferent manner because it is one of the easiest sins to fall into.

I am amazed at how quickly an innocent conversation can turn to expressing very unkind and critical opinions of another person.  I think that everyone has been in one of those conversations that turned with the phrase, ‘have you heard about “so-n-so’”.  The problem is that my curiosity peaks to a critical state with the words “have you heard”.

I haven’t heard about “so-n-so”.

What happened to “so-n-so”?

Maybe if I knew what happened to “so-n-so” then I can pray for “so-n-so”.

Gossip is so insidious because a conversation can turn from something good to something bad with an inflection, a hand gesture, body language, an overstated opinion, bluntness,…

Where does that line lie?  That is a hard one.  I rely on the second greatest commandment to be my guide regarding gossip:

“Love your neighbor as yourself”.

It seems to me that the issue comes down to loving your neighbor as yourself.  Will you feel loved if someone said those exact words behind your back about you?  It is not a question of whether you have a problem with someone saying something about you but whether you feel loved by them in their discussion about you.  How does your conversation stack up to that standard?

Gossip seems like the acceptable sin.  It is rarely preached about.  There are not a lot of Bible Studies on it. You don’t hear a lot of people asking for prayer in their struggles with it.  Yet, it seems like it is happening all the time.

I believe that our Christian communities will be healthier and emotionally safer if we were really living out the second greatest commandment – actually showing love and kindness to other people, rather than letting our opinions be known.   Let’s face it – my opinion doesn’t really matter that much.

I believe that we would be much better off if we were more concerned with loving God with all our hearts, souls and mind, setting on minds on the things of the Spirit, and focusing on our Savior, rather than focusing on other people’s failings.  You might be “better” than that other person but you are still desperately in just as much need of the grace and mercy of your savior as that other person.  You are not as good as you think you are.

We are all messes!

Let’s treat gossip for what it really is – sin.  It is then that we can start being the body of Christ that we were intended to be.

PRAYER: Lord, forgive me for not taking gossip as serious as you do.  Forgive me for not loving others as myself in my conversation.  Father, bring this sin to the front of my mind in all of my conversation.  Help me to be sensitive to my words even when they seem isolated.  Father, change my heart so that what is flowing out of it is love and kindness rather than criticalness, harshness, and indifference.  Lord, help me see people as you do and love them as you do.    Amen

13 comments

  1. Jesus wisely said, Not that which goeth into the mouth defileth a man; but that which cometh out of the mouth, this defileth a man. And he then cautioned, as ye would that men should do to you, do ye also to them likewise. Thanks for making these points. I’m grateful for the reminder.


  2. Cat lovers all over the world will love this one… great story. And an even better ending message. love and peace my friend!


  3. Absolutely.I have been hurt by rumor myself and I know at those times the ‘evidence’ was all there, but so wrong.I know I have misjudged people’s situations, but I also know that no one knows what is in a persons heart or what other situations are influencing them , us and interfering in what we perceive.
    I tell every one around me not to infer much about people; you just never know the whole truth.
    And keep talking to the cats!


  4. No truer words were ever said. Gossip *is* terrible. I never understand people’s need to slander others, and especially to create drama. I’ve always advocated understanding. If there is something we don’t like about someone else, or don’t understand, why don’t we stop and think about things before we “say” anything. Everyone has a story. As you said, everyone is a mess. “Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone…” John 8:7

    Thank you for the reminder, and also for stopping by my blog. I’ll definitely be back by yours 🙂


  5. How true!


  6. Stunning blog. I simply have to share it with my facebook friends.


  7. ONE REASON i HAVE FOUND MYSELF CAUGHT UP IN THE SIN OF GOSSIPING IS THAT SOMEHOW IT HELPS ME TO FEEL BETTER ABOUT MYSELF AND IF I AM BUSY TAKING SOMEONE ELSE’S INVENTORY I HAVE LESS TIME TO TAKE MINE…A VERY WISE CHRISTIAN LADY ONCE TOLD ME “GOD DOES NOT WANT US TO BRING OTHER’S FAULTS AND SINS TO HIM…HE ALREADY KNOWS THEM…PRAY FOR BLESSINGS AND CHARACTER STRENGTHS” SHE WAS A VERY WISE LADY


  8. Good talk! Gossip is cancerous and do destroy – when it lashes out against a person’s character, it never leaves room for remedy. It destroys close bonds! While growing up I remember my teacher says ‘avoid those who speaks about others to you because they will also speak of you to others – how so true as I have found out being a grown up! I pray God gives us the boldness in our daily lives to act against it.
    And often when I have fallen a victim and contributed by listening I feel bad – but most times when I am on the ‘alert’ the best way i stop a gossip around me is ‘practically quoting the gossip in from of the person spoken about in the presence of the gossip’.
    The shock and the shame stamps a mark on the gossip, such that he/she never comes to me again! Or if speaking to me – I just ask the person in question if he can repeat what he/she is telling me, and when he says ‘well, I just wanted to tell you bla bla bla’ – I stop him!


    • Amen! Very good thoughts – thanks for sharing.
      God Bless!
      JD


  9. As with many moral decisions, we should consider our motivation (maybe neglecting this idea is the beginning of our error). Talking about someone, relaying some information or opinion, in order to assist that person in some way might be justified. But, judging the person, which is usually what gossip, criticism, complaining, etc. are about, is another matter.

    Regarding cats, having some goats to cuddle up with on a cold winter night helps. One winter morning, when I went to feed our animals, I found the goats curled up together with three cat heads sticking up form the middle of the mass.
    Oscar


    • Amen!
      I would like to have seen those cats snuggling in with the goats.
      God Bless!
      JD


  10. Thanks for sharing this. So insidious is gossip, that even PRAYER concerns, prayer lists, etc can quickly turn to gossip. Have you ever noticed that sometimes in prayer groups, the discussion of the prayer concern occupies more time and focus than the actual prayer? Lord, forgive us and change us; being us closer to YOU.


    • Amen! It is so frustrating how we can turn truly good and value things into sin. Make you realize that we need a savior every day.
      God Bless!
      JD



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