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Sunday, February 10, 2008

I love the tell the story

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welcomes

Missy from 'It's Almost NapTime'

"I Love to Tell the Story"



I love to gossip.

There, I have said it. Not just about anyone. I am not interested in any starlet's latest escapades or even if my neighbor is having an affair. It's even worse than that, because I love to dish on people I know well. There are a few people in my life who really irritate me. Not only that, but they have wronged me in the past. And boy, do I love to tell the story.

You too?

Long ago, I read this verse, James 1:26:

If anyone considers himself religious and yet does not keep a tight rein on his tongue, he deceives himself and his religion is worthless.

and whenever remember it, it scares the pants off of me. His religion is worthless? Worthless? That is such a strong word!

My religion is not my salvation. I belong to Christ. I was bought with a high price by the Son, and John 10:29 tells me that no one – not even my own self - is able to snatch me out of the Father's hand.

My “religion” is the reflection of my beliefs. It’s the way I live out my salvation here on earth; it’s how I respond to the amazing gift of grace that God has blessed me with. It’s how I present the love of the Father to those I come across...and talk to.

If Missy considers herself religious and yet does not keep a tight rein on her tongue, she deceives herself and her religion is worthless.

Oh, y’all, can I be perfectly honest and admit I just don’t like this verse?

I have put years of prayer, bible study, and time into developing my "religion". I want the Lord to tell me that if I trash-talk someone, my religion is only watered down a little bit. Just slightly less effective. Maybe a turn-off to a couple of people who didn't really care for Jesus anyway. Yet James tells me that anytime I slander my neighbor, all of my time and effort to become holy is reduced to absolutely nothing. A big fat waste of mine and God's time.

Isaiah tells us in chapter 6 that when he saw the vision of the Lord on his throne, with all the angels worshiping him, crying "Holy, Holy Holy is the Lord of Hosts", the first thing that he said was, Oh, I am a man of unclean lips! Isaiah saw God in all his majesty and his burning urge was to was join in the singing. But his lips were unclean - he was not worthy.

Men often do not struggle with gossip, so maybe Isaiah had a problem with cursing, or maybe yelling at his children. We don't know. Whatever it was, he was unable to even praise the Lord until his lips were cleaned by burning hot coals. Before then, his religion was worthless.

I may know the exact formula to lead someone to Christ. I could be the greatest theologian, able to debate any point. I might be able to read the bible in Greek and Hebrew. Perhaps I could teach a lesson that would leave you weeping. I could spend hours on my knees, begging the Father to make me salt and light in this hurting world.

But if after all this, I tell you an unflattering tidbit about my
my husband, or my mom, mother-in-law, or my sister, my ex, or my acquaintance, my daughter’s teacher, or my son’s coach…instantly, it is all in vain. I am just another hypocrite in your eyes.

Oh, I don't want this to be so. I want to deceive myself, like James says I do. But I can't change the truth.

The only thing I can change is my tongue.

Lord, please teach me to tame my tongue to always glorify you, that my religion may be a worthy testimony of your great love for this world. Amen.


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19 Comments:

Blogger Cindy Swanson said...

Wow, Missy! You hit the nail on the head with this one. You are definitely NOT the only one who struggles with this. Your post was a much-needed reminder to me. Thank you for pointing out a very important truth!

February 8, 2008 at 11:20 PM  
Anonymous ukrainiac said...

Inserting one's own name into that verse really brings it home. Thanks...I think. (I recall that the verse that says that God knows even my thoughts was the verse that scared me...the fact that He knew my motivation for my actions. It really caused a change in my life as I had to examine my own heart for everthing I did...) May we all live our lives worthy of His calling. Again, thanks for this important reminder.

February 8, 2008 at 11:59 PM  
Blogger Denise said...

Awesome, and so very true.

February 9, 2008 at 12:49 AM  
Blogger Joyce said...

You really got me. Just this week something happened and all I could do was talk and talk. The words were not pleasent to a person. Thank you for bringing me to task about the words that come out of my mouth.

Love and Hugs,

February 9, 2008 at 6:20 AM  
Blogger Mocha with Linda said...

Ouch! You would have to bring up THAT verse! :-)

Very convicting. Thanks for speaking truth.

February 9, 2008 at 6:49 AM  
Blogger Praise and Coffee said...

Powerful and true words Missy! Thank you so much for sharing with us today, awesome message.

Welcome to the cafe'!!

Sue

February 9, 2008 at 8:09 AM  
Blogger ChristiS said...

Oh Missy, how I wish I could have never seen this...gossip is something I really struggle with. Thanks so much for sharing this! You have blessed me, as painful as it is to admit!

February 9, 2008 at 9:17 AM  
Blogger Linda said...

Welcome aboard, Missy! What a wallop to deal to us right out of the gate! There is not a person who reads this who won't relate. My prayer is the same as yours. Wonderful post.

February 9, 2008 at 10:24 AM  
Blogger Darlene said...

When we put our own name into that verse--ouch! It hits home.

Great reminder, thanks.

February 9, 2008 at 10:55 AM  
Blogger windycindy said...

Great thoughts! Thanks for the reminder! Cindi
jchoppes[at]hotmail[dot]com

February 9, 2008 at 11:21 AM  
Blogger Mary Lou said...

Great post...It hurt to read.
Everything you wrote was convicting. The Lord will use this to convict everyone who ever reads it. Oh, how we need to allow Him to control out thoughts and then our tongues...Remembering what you wrote will be used by Him to convict me. You wrote it very well and He used it. Blessings on your day....and your life..Mary Lou at dlowran1(at)comcast(dot)net

February 9, 2008 at 11:31 AM  
Blogger Darnelle said...

Well, I sure would rather be inserting my name at the end of this post (written by Darnelle. . . ) instead of inserting my name in the middle of that verse!
But you are so very right about it. If we truly seek for holiness to abound in our lives (or just to have it in ANY measure) we have to take this verse, and others like it, quite literally.

"Yet James tells me that anytime I slander my neighbor, all of my time and effort to become holy is reduced to absolutely nothing"

Reduced to nothing . . . strong words. Lord help me to remember!

February 9, 2008 at 1:04 PM  
Blogger Deb said...

Thanks!! Great Post!! I needed this BIG TIME. OUCH! I love it when we are disciplined in love. Thank you:)
God Bless.

February 9, 2008 at 7:35 PM  
Blogger The Preacher's Wife said...

Thanks for joining us today, Missy!

I can't tell you how hard it is, especially in the roll of a PW, to keep privileged info to yourself. Often, it's untintentional because what you should and shouldn't say is all rolled into one lump and you can't remember what was public or private. And I have to admit when I'm having a conversation and I know there is something I could say that would calm someone or better yet, hush up an accusation, it's all I can do to keep my mouth shut.

Thanks for the great reminder about the power of our tongues! :)

Lisa

February 10, 2008 at 7:47 AM  
Blogger mamas*little*treasures said...

This is such a difficult truth to practice, especially when we are the target of gossip . . . . and we feel so compelled to tell "our side" of the story. But in reality, that usually only seems to make everything worse. I learned a very difficult lesson through some painful experiences, that people (yes, even Christians!) are going to think, say, and do whatever they want, and there is nothing at all that I can do to stop them. That was a devastating experience, and defending myself was just too exhausting. So, no matter what side of the gossip you find yourself, it is always destructive. Thanks so much for sharing and reminding us of the power of our words. Nina

February 10, 2008 at 9:14 AM  
Blogger Amy B said...

Awesome post, Missy! Wonderful!

February 10, 2008 at 1:58 PM  
Blogger Elaine Bateman said...

Very true, Missy! I have just posted an article on gossip in my facebook account. Thank you for bringing James to life by using our own names in the verse! Wow! An eye opener!

Gossip and words can devastate tremendously.

Again, thank you and may the Lord continue to bless you!

February 11, 2008 at 7:14 AM  
Blogger Megan@SortaCrunchy said...

Oh don't I know this struggle?! Mostly I can walk in victory over the sin of gossip, then wham! Out of the blue, I am indulging in that old vice once again. Oh, I hate it so.

Great thoughts, Missy. I always appreciate your insights!

February 11, 2008 at 5:43 PM  
Blogger Marcus and Meg Asby said...

Great post, Missy! I'm so glad you left the link on my blog; I hope others visit, too!! It's always so hard and so good to hear.

Praise Christ for grace, huh?

May 26, 2008 at 12:36 PM  

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