|Image credit lotopspin on Flickr|
She sketched the scene with bold markers,
her words permanent on air--
though she was not there.
Shaded strokes of innuendo,
colored details, slanted line
to fit her design.
Framed in pale pretense of concern,
on display for passersby,
and I wondered why.
Had she no sensitivity,
word pictures for the heart, or
was this modern art?
Have you ever been badly caricatured by someone's words? You knew what they said wasn't true--either in its entirety or implication--or was totally out of context or dramatized? Perhaps the whole tone of conversation was changed or another participant's omitted or edited. Or a happening was portrayed without adequate knowledge of background, motive, or other clarifying information. Only a paragraph of the entire story was written--in ignorant ink! How did it make you feel? Sometimes an overheard criticism or some critic's cutting one-liner can destroy the confident heart of a developing talent or sow a seed of bitterness which produces a blighting crop of the same.
Words spoken can never be unsaid and leave a lasting impression for good or evil. For that reason, we really must think before we speak. While I'm never intentionally unkind, I've often blurted out something without benefit of due mental process! Some may find gossip entertaining and attention getting, but it's never beneficial--to its subject, its spiller, its spellbound or uncomfortable listener. It may be unconsciously gloated over as a means of glossing over the speaker's own faults, but it never makes anyone look good or feel good for long. Gossip is negative news about someone that we cannot change nor are in a position of authority over so that we need to know. And we can pray just as well--even better--without ugly details about which God is already aware! As for it being "true", is it a "good report" that we wouldn't mind being told about us if we were the subject?
God is just, merciful, redemptive. Are we? Jesus loved the scorned, rejected. Do we? How much mercy do we want? Personally, I figure I need mercy too badly to pass judgment. Our words are supposed to "give grace to the hearer". They should build up, not tear down. As a friend recently passed on, some news coverage "wouldn't edify me to say it and wouldn't edify you to hear it!"
Gossip is a cobra disguised as a garter snake; its bite has proven deadly to many individuals, relationships--even churches. Shoot it down or run from it; don't pick it up!