No one likes to be talked about. No one enjoys hearing their name slandered. I know I don’t. Yet we all participate in gossip. It seems so petty and, for me, can sometimes be confusing. I remember going through a period in middle school, when it seems as if everything you hear in your youth group is about relationships and mean girls (Hmm I wonder if the constant teaching of this is part of the problem? Ah that’s another blog for another day…) Anyway, I would wonder what exactly the definition of gossip was. I was always told it was talking about someone else, but I kept questioning whether me telling my friend Amy Lynn that my other friend Frances was coming over was considered gossip. That’s just where my extremely practical and often times justifying mind took me as a tweenager.
But we know. We know when what we are saying is something that should not be repeated. We know when it is unnecessary, and simply meant to slander. And we also know how it feels to be on the other side of it.
Not long ago, I was on the other side of it, and I didn’t know what to do. I was hurt, but most of all, my fleshly self wanted to slander in return and not turn the other cheek. But I refrained. I hope this is a sign of maturity, because it wasn’t easy. As I was driving home one evening, filled with emotion and praying through the situation, I asked the Lord to show me how to handle the situation. And you know what? He told me to drop it. To not say another word about it! So I said “But God…” (you know that’s never a good response) “But God, I just don’t like my name trashed for no apparent reason! Why didn’t they come to me about it?” And you know what God said to me in return? He said, “Hayley, My Name is trashed and thrown into the mud every. single. day.” My heart broke. How could I be so selfish? Every moment of every day people are attempting to destroy the name of my Creator. My Father. And what baffles me the most is that these slanderers would not be able to open their mouths if He did not allow it! What mercy!
So I dropped it. Then and there. If damage is done to my name because of my sinful ways, so be it. I know in my heart of hearts who I am and what my intentions are. They are not perfect, that’s why I’m still a sinner. But at the end of the day, it is my desire to be conformed to the Lord that is above all else, and whether or not someone gossips about me is completely pointless.
This was a tough lesson to learn, and something I will have to put into practice in my own life, but I am so grateful that I learned it. He showed me a new realm of mercy that I had yet to experience, and it was worth every bit of stress and heartache.