I have no idea how many times I heard that when I was a kid, and you know what I'm talking about, "If you don't have anything nice to say, don't say nothin' at all." Forgive my improper grammar, it should be "anything at all", but who cares. Third Day has a song out with the title, "Nothing at all." Here's a link if you want to check it out.
Saturday, I mentioned that the Life Journal readings had started with James, and that he was gearing up for something that I already had a rant ready for, well, here it is. James 3 is where I'm at this morning and here is what he says:
"When we put bits into the mouths of horses to make them obey us, we can turn the whole animal. Or take ships as an example. Although they are so large and are 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. Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark. The tongue is also a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole person, sets the whole course of his life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell...All kinds of animals, birds, reptiles, and creatures of the sea are being tamed and have been tamed by man but no man can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison."
Don't hold back James, tell us what you really mean. That's what I like about this particular book. He does not mince words. Paul sometimes talks in circles, James goes in straight for the kill.
I've been doing this for 11 years now, and if I could get back all of the time I had spent dealing with the damage gossips have caused in the churches I have served, I could slip off to some Caribbean island for a couple months and never be missed. If there is one thing that I absolutely abhor, that's it. Not Caribbean islands, I'd be all over that, but gossips. I despise it, have no use for it, zero patience for it, and will call you out on it in a heartbeat.
Some folks thrive on the turmoil gossip causes, and I believe it is pure evil. Sorry, but I do. It doesn't mean they can't be good people at times, but James said, the tongue can be a restless evil full of deadly poison. A small spark, setting fire to great forests. A small part making great boasts. Gossip is not just damaging to the victim's self esteem and reputation, but it's from the very pits of hell and smells like smoke. So if you do it, STOP.
I'm dealing with a situation right now over this very thing. I don't know if it's born out of jealousy, some physiological condition, an underlying agenda, or what, but it's getting old. I'm just trying to do my job, keep my nose clean, and mind my own business (like most folks, honestly, who are victims of gossip) and this person just will not quit. (So, if you know who I'm talking about, and know him, tell him I'm onto his game and his day of reckoning is quickly approaching). Honestly, it hasn't caused me any major problems yet, but the potential is there, so I've had to go on the defense with some folks and make some pre-emptive damage control moves. Right now, it's just an annoying distraction.
Sorry, but I said in the beginning that this was a rant. I own that. You see, I think there was a reason James hit on this so hard, and this is just Jamie. Not only is it pure evil, it distracts the victim from the more important things they should be doing. It casts doubts where there were none, and causes folks to question their self worth. Pure evil, and those who thrive on it, and continually and intentionally engage in it, in my opinion, while they may be good folk at times, have an evil vein running through the very core of their soul.
Ok, so James might not have been talking about gossip, exactly, but what he is saying sure covers it. If I were to ever preach hellfire and damnation, this would be the topic. But since I'm not a hellfire and damnation preacher, I just stay away from it in the pulpit.
Ok, I'm done. (to kind of quote South Park...) "Gossip is bad, nkay? If you gossip, you're bad, nkay? So don't gossip." But the funny thing is, and after this I really am done, grace even covers gossips. Imagine that.