August 18, 2008
Godly Talk or Gossip?
“Tell the older women to behave as those who love the Lord should.
They must not gossip about others or be slaves of wine.
They must teach what is proper.” Titus 2:3 (CEV)
Have you ever said words such as: “I’m just telling you this so you will pray for her,” or “I’m really not supposed to share this; just don’t tell anyone else.” Truthfully, I’ve been guilty of trying to hide gossip with words like this, but God has really been convicting me lately about my words. Specifically, God is challenging me to speak godly words. Now that this subject of godly words is on my heart, it seems that God is bringing verses and life-lessons about this topic wherever I turn.
As I drove home from Bible study, I realized that God had used my friend Debbie that night to deliver one of those life-lessons about godly words. Out of all the discussions that night, Debbie’s words were the ones that stayed with me. Her words had pointed me to a deeper understanding of God, so much so that I wrote them in my journal and even shared them with another friend.
Over the ten years I’ve know her, I’ve learned many lessons about godly words from Debbie. First, I’ve never heard her gossip about another woman. The definition of gossip is “idle talk; rumor; talk of a personal, sensational, or intimate nature.” In Titus 2:3 we women are instructed not to be “malicious gossips.” God knew that we women might struggle with our words. Debbie has never even hinted at gossiping about another woman. That’s an amazing track record.
The second lesson about godly words from Debbie has been the way she talks about her husband and her marriage. We’ve had many honest conversations about our marital challenges. Once again, Debbie has never gossiped about her husband. Even at times when she’s been angry or frustrated with her husband, she doesn’t berate him or share details that would embarrass him.
Finally, one of the keys to Debbie’s godly words is in the amount she speaks. She is neither overly quiet nor overly talkative. The words she says are wise and point me to God. Her example in the amount she speaks teaches me to ask myself: Do I really need to say anything in this situation, or do I just want to hear myself talk?
I’m very much a work-in-progress in this area of godly talk. I’ve spent plenty of time lately confessing the sin of my ungodly talk, and I’m thankful for my heavenly Father who doesn’t give up on me but calls me to His standards. I’ll end with two things that are really helping me in this area. I have a friend who is also working on this and we hold each other accountable. And I have a question that I’m trying to use as a guideline for godly talk: Are my words going to lead to gossip or to God?
Dear Lord, You know what’s in my heart and You know that godly talk is something that’s challenging to me. Lord, I want to honor You with my words. I want to be a woman who can be trusted by others not to harm them, and I want to be trusted by You, Lord, to speak only what honors You. Make me aware of situations or people who might tempt me to gossip, and give me the strength to avoid these situations. Lord, if I sin with my words, convict me, cause me to repent, and to have a change of heart, a heart that wants what You want. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
30 Days to Taming Your Tongue by Deborah Smith Pegues
The Power of a Woman’s Words by Sharon Jaynes
What a Husband Needs from His Wife by Melanie Chitwood
Read through Proverbs chapters 6,10, and 13. Write down any guidelines you learn for godly talk.
Ask a trusted friend to hold you accountable to speak in a godly way.
Ask God to make you more aware of your talking.
Do I listen more or talk more?
Are my words going to lead to gossip or to God?
Are there situations or other people who tempt me to gossip? Can I avoid them?
Proverbs 6:16, 19, “There are six things which the Lord hates … a false witness who utters lies, and one who spreads strife among brothers.” (NAS)
Proverbs 13:3, “Careful words make for a careful life; careless talk may ruin everything.” (Message)
© 2008 by Melanie Chitwood. All rights reserved.
Proverbs 31 Ministries
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