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Monday, January 11, 2010

If you can't say something nice...

For book club in January, we are reading A. J. Jacobs' The Year of Living Biblically. In a nutshell, Jacobs, a self-professed Agnostic with Jewish roots, decides to follow every rule in the Bible literally for one year, in an attempt to discover why the Bible is culturally relevant. On Day 70 of his journal, Jacobs invokes Psalm 34:13, "keep your tongue from evil, and your lips from speaking lies." In his attempt to follow this passage literally, Jacobs has the following to say:

"The Bible has at least twenty passages condemning gossip. In English editions, translators use words such as slander or talebearing or unwholesome talk or evil tongue.
This means I can't join in when my coworkers discuss a certain boozy actress who scribbled obscenities on a bathroom mirror, or the rumor that a news anchor is about to ditch his wife for a younger woman...
The problem is, if you really want to be biblically safe, you should go much further. You should avoid almost all negative speech whatsoever. Here's how one of my Bible commentaries defines evil tongue: 'This refers to any derogatory or damaging statement against an individual--even when the slanderous or defaming remarks are true--which if publicized to others would cause the subject physical or monetary damage, anguish, or fear.'"

Courtney and I were sitting in her office today discussing gossip, after which, we just finished gossipping. After a brief review of Jacob's day 70 journal entry, Courtney and I decide at 1:23 p.m. to abstain from "gossip" for one day. This is not only defined by exchanging information about someone, but also by elminating any negative speak of others. We laugh, and within minutes, we fail. Do you know how hard it is to keep your tongue from evil, even when you're not deliberately gossipping? And, let's be real. A lot of people we're around on a daily basis act the fool. There's a lot of temptation afoot.

Here's how the rest of the day unfolded:

1:47 p.m. Courtney and I are working on an event, when I comment about the loveliness of the author. Courtney looks at me in disgust and says, "whattttttt?" I snap my fingers and tell her that I set her up for failure, and we laugh...because we both share the same feelings toward this author's countenance.

2:19 p.m. Courtney and I walk upstairs to the cafe, and I see a hanging image of soup over the hot bar. I ask her if I'm allowed to say "that soup looks gross." She says no, because "someone made that soup, and your comment might hurt them." We ponder over this one for a few.

2:23 p.m. We pass a co-worker on our way back downstairs and we ask his opinion on the matter. He feels as though we are allowed to criticize soup, as we are criticizing the inanimate object without reference to the person that made it. As we turn to leave, Courtney reminds him that it is guaranteed that we won't talk about him on our way back downstairs. This strikes us all as rather hilarious.

2:29 p.m. Again, we pass another co-worker. It's someone that Courtney and I both have a strong distaste for. We look at each other in silence. Courtney looks at me and says, "tough day to start this no gossip thing."

During our pledge, I realize what a failure I am at keeping up with the rules and regulations. No, seriously, I suck. And, praise the Lord that He sent His perfect, sinless Son to die for my sins, so that I may live wholly and eternally. I don't have to measure myself to a scale of deeds and misdeeds. I am saved by grace, so that I can't boast. What freedom from the shackles of legality! Now, this serves as my foundation, but with freedom comes much responsibility. It is my job as a follower of Christ to ascribe to Psalm 34:13, because the acceptance of His grace changed me.


Anonymous Jojie said...

mac make up brushes

Gossip is a part of life. Sometimes, you hurt someone because of words you didn't mean to say. Nobody can claim that they are sinless, because we all commit our own sin, small or big. The difference is on how we acknowledge those sins and make our own sacrifice.

8:27 AM

Blogger emmysue said...

The preacher at Hillsong Paris preached on this very thing Sunday. I've been thinking about it a lot this week...about how our words have the power to bring life or bring death. I don't know about you, but I want my words to bring life! In addition to gossip, I've been thinking a lot about complaining. We, as humans, complain a lot. trying not to complaing.

I applaud your efforts, my friend!

PS - word verification is "cheri" which is a term of endearment in French. How fun is that?!

12:41 PM


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