Sunday, January 11, 2009
Have you ever said something in a group setting, only to have someone who was not present at the time come and confront you about what you said? More specifically, have you ever said something in a meeting, only to have your boss, who was not present at the meeting, call you up about what you said? This happened to me this past week, and it upset me. It was a simple statement. Something I should not have said, although it would not have got me or anyone else into trouble, but someone saw the need to report it to my boss. And I have no idea who the person was.
Gossiping, spreading rumors, backbiting as the Bible calls it may be common in most workplaces, however the Bible has a lot to say about the way we use our mouth to speak about others. "The mouth of the righteous is a well of life, but violence covers the mouth of the wicked. In the multitude of words sin is not lacking, but he who restrains his lips is wise. The tongue of the righteous is choice silver; the heart of the wicked is worth little"(Proverbs 10: 11, 19-20).
Jesus said, "But those things which proceed out of the mouth come forth from the heart; and they defile the man" (Matthew 15: 18). And from James the apostle: "But the tongue can no man tame; it is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison" (3: 8).
And from the apostle Paul: "Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, Who knowing the judgement of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them" (Romans 1 : 30, 32).
The Bible is not the only place we can find admonition about our choice of words. This line from the poet Emily Dickinson conveys the idea so clearly. "A word is dead when it is said, some say. I say it just begins to live that day." Just think about that.