As you quiet yourself for this brief time, be willing to be open to God, however that may take place.
2 Timothy 2:14-26 (NRSV)
Remind them of this, and warn them before God that they are to avoid wrangling over words, which does no good but only ruins those who are listening. Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved by him, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly explaining the word of truth. Avoid profane chatter, for it will lead people into more and more impiety, and their talk will spread like gangrene. Among them are Hymenaeus and Philetus, who have swerved from the truth by claiming that the resurrection has already taken place. They are upsetting the faith of some. But God’s firm foundation stands, bearing this inscription: “The Lord knows those who are his,” and, “Let everyone who calls on the name of the Lord turn away from wickedness.”
In a large house there are utensils not only of gold and silver but also of wood and clay, some for special use, some for ordinary. All who cleanse themselves of the things I have mentioned will become special utensils, dedicated and useful to the owner of the house, ready for every good work. Shun youthful passions and pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace, along with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart. Have nothing to do with stupid and senseless controversies; you know that they breed quarrels. And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but kindly to everyone, an apt teacher, patient, correcting opponents with gentleness. God may perhaps grant that they will repent and come to know the truth, and that they may escape from the snare of the devil, having been held captive by him to do his will.
“If you cannot think of anything good to say, keep thinking.” My son’s fifth grade teacher impressed this wisdom on her class. This teacher understands that our words are very powerful.
Scripture reminds us that our words can be a life-giving medicine, or they can be a life-taking poison. The Bible says that in the eyes of God, gossip is a terrible sin. God hates gossip because it can be so utterly destructive. It can tear down people, wound people, and destroy reputations.
While taking my son to school, we drove drive by an old, attractive house. I did not know it at the time, but the house had become totally infected with mold. One day as we drove by the house, a demolition crew was unloading equipment to tear it down. When I drove by that afternoon, I was amazed to see that the house was completely gone. I am sure it took many weeks, maybe even months to build that house. But it only took a few short hours to destroy it. Only an empty plot of land remained.
Gossip is very much like that house. It builds up over time, much like the mold in that old house. Gossip can literally destroy a human being in a matter of hours. Not only does it affect individuals, but the entire community. The landscape changed when that house was torn down; our communities change when a person is damaged.
Paul says, “Avoid profane chatter, for it will lead people into more and more impiety, and their talk will spread like gangrene.”
Dear God, help me to remember that my words have the power to be life-giving, but also life-taking. Help me, O God, to use my words for life. Amen.
Go with God.