Thursday, September 27, 2007

GOSSIP AND THE HEARERS RESPONSIBLITY

FOURTH IN A SERIES


Ecclesiastes 7:21-22 Also take not heed unto all words that are spoken; lest thou hear thy servant curse thee: for oftentimes also thine own heart knoweth that thou thyself likewise hast cursed others.


You were hoping I wouldn't go there weren't you? Well, I did and we will provided you keep on reading. What is the responsibility of the listener when gossip is spoken? Oh, I know. The listener is to REBUKE the speaker and PUT THEM IN THEIR PLACE. Well, lets at least look at this passage before we make that assumption.

The first phrase IS NOT a command to hear what you like and ignore the rest. Rather, it is telling us to not pay attention to the babbling of others and babbling in general. Why? Because if you listen to all of the babbling and grumbling and complaining, you will hear your servant curse you and if you act against that grumbling and babbling, you are setting yourself in a higher moral plane than others and the reason is clear that that cannot be done. YOU likewise have cursed others in your vain babblings as well. We are condemned by our own actions if we condemn all actions of the other.

What does this have to do with Gossip? The hearer of such needs to filter what is heard. In other words, perhaps the one speaking the gossip is doing it out of anger and hurt feelings and on any other normal day, would not have said so much. Perhaps they are just babbling things about when they should have just kept their mouth shut. We are not speaking about those who are intentionally trying to stir up strife. We are speaking about those who, for whatever reason, are just "spouting off". The listener/hearer then should not make any judgment calls about the subject of the speech then. We have said things we do not mean before. We have said things out loud that we wish we had not said before. We have put our mouth in motion without having our wisdom in gear before have we not? Thus we are to use great wisdom in this situation. Sometimes, we just need to let it, the gossip, fall to the ground when we consider the source of the speech. We do not need to have an answer for all the babblings around and we certainly do not need to be correcting EVERY babbling we hear. We too say things when we are upset or discouraged or the likes.

So to the listener/hearer/over hearer of such things, sometimes, we need to just drop it and let it go. What they said may hurt and what they said may be wrong. But you and I have done the same thing to others when in reality, we were speaking off the cuff or on the spur of the moment or on a whim of emotion and not that our failures make theirs acceptable, rather, we give and grant room for forgiveness and understanding all the while knowing that if it were not for that same forgiveness, our own heart would be under condemnation as it must readily admit that we ourselves have done likewise.

May God grant us the wisdom to be as wise as serpents but as harmless as doves.


For the first in this series, go HERE.
For the second in this series, go HERE.
For the third in this series, go HERE.

2 comments:

selahV said...

Luke: guess that is why Jesus said, "judge not, that you not be judged", huh?

great interp here. one I seek to keep in mind all the time. selahV

Luke said...

And the rest of that teaching is that if we "rightly" judged ourselves, we would not need be judged. Paul wrote that to the Corinthians. Christian charity is difficult at time to extend when we have our shorts in a knot. But none-the-less, we should seek to give it where it can be given.