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Thursday, July 24, 2008


tasty morsels


It's happened again. Another media shark feast, all due to a whiff of scandal within Christianity. This time it's the principal of a local Christian school.

Not for one moment am I minimizing the charges. If they're true, they're awful. And they require serious consequences. But I'm taking a stand here.

I've decided to believe the best. And not just about this man, or this circumstance. For a long time now I've been trying to urge the women in our church to believe the best about each other, every time, in every situation. I tell them that because 1 Corinthians 13 comes down, in large part, to that one sentence: Love believes the best. That means we don't take offense at one another, and it means that when we stand at a cross-roads choosing between two paths, we turn our back on the one that says, "I think she really meant that," and we run down the road that says, "I believe she didn't." I'm convinced that it's only when we consistently make that choice that we'll have peace in our relationships and peace within the church. And it's only then that the world will look at us in wonder, recognizing a love that eludes them in their circles.

So I've been sounding the gong for a long while now. I believed it on a conviction-level. But only in the last few months has the conviction taken root in my heart. Over those last few months, I myself have been the subject of gossip. One person chose to put words in my mouth rather than admit to the ones she spoke. The words she credited to me were absolutely false, and so far beyond anything I'd speak that I didn't recognize myself in the revised story as it made the rounds. Another person stood at the cross-road I just mentioned, listened to my explanation, took a few tentative steps down the road of "I believe she didn't," and then turn and ran full speed down the road of "I think she did." When the dust settled, friends I've known and loved for twenty years (and some for twelve) left me and left our fellowship without one word, and without even once asking me for the truth ... all because they chose to believe gossip.

So my ethereal view of gossip--and the godly way to handle it--has been brought into concrete terms for me. And when this story hit the news yesterday, and people started murmuring about it, I made a decision. I'm going to believe the best until I'm forced to believe otherwise. And it won't cost me a thing ... except the lingering taste of a dainty morsel. But I am, after all, the bride of Christ. I should probably watch what I'm eating.

*    *    *    

The words of a gossip are like tasty bits of food.
People like to gobble them up.
(Proverbs 18:8 New Century Translation)

Listening to gossip is like eating cheap candy;
do you really want junk like that in your belly?
(Proverbs 18:8 The Message)

There are six things the LORD hates,
seven that are detestable to him:
haughty eyes, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked schemes, feet that are quick to rush into evil, a false witness who pours out lies and a man who stirs up dissension among brothers.
(Proverbs 6:16-19 NIV)

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5 Comment:

At 7/24/2008 8:00 PM, Blogger Kim had this to say ...

AMEN, sister! I love the way you wrote this. You are what you eat. ;)

 
At 7/26/2008 8:57 PM, Blogger Dorci Harris had this to say ...

I've learned, too, Shannon, that even gossip that is true is still gossip and that I should be extremely careful about whom I choose to share things that I don't want being carried to any other ears. Thanks. :o)

 
At 7/31/2008 1:53 PM, Blogger Kari had this to say ...

Shannon, I didn't know that you had written about this until Elaina told me today. I just blogged about it myself. It's a difficult time for everyone and my concern is for the Lord's reputation most of all, especially when we, as Christians, share our dirty laundry with an already suspicious world. "In fighting" will not solve anthing. It will only cause strife and division between a body of believers, whether in a church or at a school.
Galations 5:22
"But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law"

 
At 8/04/2008 1:22 PM, Blogger lady jane had this to say ...

I've been the recipient of gossip as well and the wounds go deep, not only for me but for those doing the gossiping. They just don't realize it at this time but when it hits them (and it will one day) the fallout will be great.

Bless you.

 
At 8/04/2008 9:15 PM, Blogger suzzanne had this to say ...

Shannon,
Thank you so much for this. It is difficult to not get wrapped up in every detail as it is being relayed in the media and by people who have seen court docs. Reading the King5 blog rips at my heart. I called this man my friend, I confided in him, and I trusted my son in his care. Thank you for reminding me that I can still believe the best of him until there is proof otherwise. And, if he is found guilty, then I can only pray that God heals him of his sickness. One thing I took out of Dave's message Sunday was about loving the unloveable. I had to go from Phileo to Agape with one breaking news story. He was my friend and I loved him, now because of this, I must love him anyway.

 

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