Summary: James gives another example. Think about a ship, like the Queen Mary in Southern California. It’s this massive ship. It has three acres of recreational space on it. It’s huge! In fact, the anchor of the Queen Mary is the equivalent in weight to ten cars

Series: Christianity Uncensored

Message #4: Gossip Uncensored

By: Jud Wilhite

We do live in a culture that loves dirty laundry. It’s spun all around us. We see it in all kinds of things. In particular we see it in the lines at the supermarkets when we look at these little things called tabloids. We see headlines about woodpeckers that kill thousands, aliens that are abducted, a new Elvis Presley sighting. I thought to kick us off on this subject we’d do a little supermarket tabloid test. I’m going to put five tabloid headlines on the screen. I want you to determine which one of them is an actual tabloid headline. Ready?

Number one: Two hundred forty pound baby signed by New Zealand football team. Number two: Wolf boy abducts neighbor’s dog. It was our honeymoon! Number three: Two hundred foot Jesus appears in Washington. Number four: Psychic feline moves objects with mind. And number five: Vasectomy reduces chances of being abducted by aliens. In case you were wondering, there you have it. Talk amongst yourself and determine which supermarket tabloid headline is real? I hear lots of threes – you are right! Two hundred foot Jesus appears in Washington. Nice job. Apparently CNN missed that one. There is another tabloid that says they found Jesus’ sandal in Central park.

One more time – here is a few more. 1) World’s oldest woman thrives on lard and booze and probably lives in Vegas. 2) Exorcism cures monstrous zit. 3) Leprechaun ejected by casino. He’s too lucky! 4) Vampire poodles go on a bloody rampage. 5) Lincoln was a woman. Now as you look at this we’re yanking your chain just a little bit. The truth is, all five of these are actual tabloid headlines. Just for fun I thought we’d throw the fifth one up – Lincoln was a woman. There it is published in the World Weekly News. Then it says, “Was John Wilkes Booth her jilted lover?”

We live in a culture that’s inundated with tabloids and dirty laundry. There is all sorts of stuff flying around. There is gossip in our work places. People talk about other people. We spread hearsay and rumors. The rumor mill turns. Sometimes it’s hard to know. Even in conversations have you wondered, “Am I gossiping right now when I’m saying this? Is it gossip? Is it not gossip?” It can be a real challenge. One thing I’ve realized is that it’s hard to nail gossip down and to determine when you are doing it. But it’s always easy to tell when you are being gossiped about. Isn’t that the truth? You wonder “Is this gossip? Am I telling gossip?” But when you hear someone else talk about you, you know when you are being gossiped about. It bothers you in that sense.

I thought Rick Warren gave a great definition of gossip and how we know when we are gossiping. He said this, “When we are talking about a situation with somebody who is neither part of the problem or part of the solution, then we are probably gossiping.” When we are talking about a situation with someone who is neither part of the problem or the solution; I found that very helpful. Let’s say you are at work and you have employees that you work with, maybe you have a work situation and you have a conversation with your employee about another employee, maybe someone under you. How are you going to deal with a situation? Is that gossip? Not if it’s part of the problem or solution. You are trying to actually get to an end solution that is actually good for everybody. I think intent is really important when we talk about gossip as well. Do you say these things to harm them or to really help them? You can have some hard conversations with people, let’s say in a work environment, but the end goal of it is to actually help that individual take steps and improve and be able to thrive in their work environment. What is our motivation in the things that we share?

We can get in a lot of trouble with our words. I’ll never forget when Lori came in with a brand new haircut. It’s the first time she had her hair done this certain way. I think we had been married for several years. She came in and her hair was sort of red. She had it colored. She came in, she doesn’t tell me these things, she just shows up. Check it out, do you like my hair? I paused for about three seconds and said, “Well, I love you.” It was ugly at the Wilhite household. Sometimes we say things that get ourselves in trouble.

When you think about words, statistics say we speak about one-fifth of our entire lives. The average person has over thirty conversations a day. That would fill up in a year sixty-six books at eight hundred pages a book – each year. Crazy, huh? There are lots of opportunities to make mistakes. James says this, he talks about the tongue more than any other writer in the New Testament, he says this in chapter three, verse three: “When we put bits into the mouths of horses to make them obey us, we can turn the whole animal. Take ships for example. Although they are so large and driven by strong winds they are steered by a very small rudder wherever the pilot wants to go. Likewise, the tongue is a small part of the body but it makes great boasts.” The tongue is a small part of the body but it makes great boasts.

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Charles Wallis

commented on Oct 30, 2008

Great stories and examples.

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