We’ve got your daily encouragement, written by Bruce Sampson.

 

Bible Reading:

1 Corinthians 13:6

“… [Love] does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth.”

Word:

So you’re out to lunch with two of your friends possibly after a hard workout, because let’s face it, we CrossFit so that we can treat ourselves to good food from time to time. Conversation is going back and forth and you’re have a good time catching up because it’s been awhile since you all have last hung out. All of a sudden, the dialogue pivots to a topic about someone else outside of the table. Admittedly what is being said wouldn’t be spoken to this person directly, but the conversation continues.

Let’s stop right there.

I’m sure you’ve been in this position before. I get it, it’s not as bad as it actually sounds, or if everyone understood the context of who it was about, they would say it’s true. I think it’s better to call it for what it is, gossip. Gossip can be the fasted way to demolish any community. In our passage today, Paul is writing to a divided community of believers and explicitly lays out what an expression of love should look like towards one another in order to save the Church. Paul knew how self-destructive a community without love could be. In his letter to them he writes,

“Love does not delight in evil…”

I want to focus on gossip because it is often the most elusive act of evil there is. It’s not stealing, cheating, or murder, so it’s easy to justify when we do it. Even if we have never gossiped before, to delight in evil is also to condone it. Gossip has a way of pulling us in slowly and before we know it we find ourselves right in the middle of it. In the end gossip can end up hurting everyone at the table, whether you’re the one speaking or listening, and the one who it’s directed to outside the table.

I will be the first to admit that gossip is hard to avoid. We all struggle with this. The truth is that nobody has ever been helped through gossip, only harmed. While nothing redeemable comes through gossip, Jesus brings redemption to us through his love. Instead of condoning our sin and leaving us to a life separated from God forever, Jesus takes the punishment for our sin and leaves it at the cross. Gossip could never have accomplished what Jesus has done for us and that’s a truth that we can rejoice in.

 

Prayer:

Thank you Jesus for giving us these letters to reflect on the many expressions of love. Instead of condoning gossip I want to speak the truth in love and turn from the hidden sin in my life. Help me to grow in closer relationships in the communities around me. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

 

Skillwork:

Now for the heavy lifting! Defeating gossip starts by discerning it. Here are three good reminders when you are in a conversation about another person:

  1. Could whatever said about this person be said with this person?
  2. Does your heart break for this person or do you feel righteous by comparison?
  3. Before sharing information about a person, would it help you help the person?

 

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