Proverbs 16:24 ¶ Pleasant words are like a honeycomb, Sweetness to the soul and health to the bones.
Proverbs 26:20 ¶ Where there is no wood, the fire goes out; And where there is no talebearer, strife ceases. 21 As charcoal is to burning coals, and wood to fire, So is a contentious man to kindle strife. 22 The words of a talebearer are like tasty trifles, And they go down into the inmost body.
It is unfortunate that gossip is an acceptable sin among too many Christians. There are two things that make the sin of gossip so hard to pinpoint and difficult to deal with: First of all, we like to hear rumors and stories of other people’s affairs. Lastly, we chose to be ignorant of the truth, and pretend not to understand that listening to a gossip (some one that digs up evil and sows strife) is just as bad as being the one who does it.
One of the greatest lessons in life that I ever learned was this one:
“Being Ignorant of the law is no excuse to break it.“
I learned this lesson when I was 12 years old, and I learned it the hard way as I was tried and convicted of a crime that I had deluded myself into thinking that I was innocent of. Let me explain.
When I was 12 years old I was caught riding in a stolen car with some friends (that I will affectionately call my friendly “Neighbor-hoodies”). Consequently, I was booked accordingly, and given a day in court. To say the least, I was both embarrassed and scared, because I always considered myself to be a good kid, and took pride in myself that I was not as bad as others. So, how did this happen to me?
When my “friends” offered me a ride home in a car that they had stolen, although I knew in my heart that this was wrong (and that they were hoodlums), I convinced myself that simply riding in a stolen car was not the same, or as bad, as stealing it. Therefore, I convinced myself that simply riding in a stolen car was OK, and therefore I was innocent of a crime.
Fortunately, when the judge considered my case she thought otherwise. Judge Phillips rightly condemned me for being “Party to a crime”, and she sentenced me to probation with the understanding that if I stayed out of trouble until I was 18 this offense would be expunged from my record.
In the eyes of Judge Phillips, my participating in (and benefiting from) a crime made me just as guilty as the person that actually did it. If being party to a crime is itself a crime according to human law, how much more is it a crime according to the Law of God?
Colossians 3:25 But he who does wrong will be repaid for what he has done, and there is no partiality.
1 Peter 1:17 And if you call on the Father, who without partiality judges according to each one’s work, conduct yourselves throughout the time of your stay here in fear;
My prayer today is that God will give me the wisdom to discerned between the pleasant words of the righteous that are “like a honeycomb, sweetness to the soul and health to the bones”, and the evil words of the wicked that are “like tasty trifles.” May God give me the strength to cling to the former, and the power to shun the latter. As it is written:
1 Thessalonians 5:21 Prove all things; hold fast that which is good. 22 Abstain from all appearance of evil.
Epilogue – I thank you Lord that this sad episode in my life scared me straight. I also thank You for the last forty-six (and counting) years of my life I have lived crime free. I thank you Lord because I know that it was, it is, and it will continue to be only by Your grace!