"And David said to Saul, ‘Why do you listen to the words of men who say, David seeks to do you harm?'"
I Samuel 24: 9, Amplified Bible
"No one can have a gossiping tongue unless (she) has gossiping ears."
Have I ever heard a rumor and passed it on to others only to find out later that the information was completely false?
How do I feel when information about myself is spread around which is completely false?
Do I choose to believe the best or the worst about others?
"Whoever gossips to you will gossip of you."
"There's so much good in the worst of us, and so much bad in the best of us, that it little behooves any of us to talk about the rest of us."
It was the well-known advice columnist, Abigail Van Buren, better known as "Dear Abby," who made the astute observation that, "It is almost impossible to throw dirt on someone without getting a little on yourself."
This statement is certainly laid out very well in the experience of David when he was repeatedly threatened by King Saul. Finally, the two men met and David asked Saul this question that I have at times wanted to ask people in my own life, "Why do you listen to the words of people who aren't telling you the truth about my intentions toward you?"
This is a question I believe each of us has asked in certain situations in our lives. I'll never forget an incident that happened in my own life a number of years ago. Someone called our home, and my husband answered the phone. Without hesitation, this gentleman launched into a fierce tirade against me because of a project I was working on that happened to cross his will.
This man's first error was running me down to my husband. Believe me when I say that Jim knows my faults better than anyone else and he'll even be so kind as to point out some of them to me if he feels it will help me. But let me tell you, my dear husband becomes a protective lion if someone attacks his lioness! Make no mistake about it.
This individual's second error was that his personal accusations against me were simply wrong. He didn't have the facts. And without doing any research before he pounced, he came to a totally errant conclusion. What made things even worse was he didn't limit his falsehoods to a personal phone call to our home. Instead, he'd spread his vicious lie around to anyone who would listen.
I find it interesting that when the subject of gossip comes up, we somehow think it takes only a wagging tongue to spread malignant rumors. But there have to be listening ears, willing to take in the tales told by moving tongues. In the case of David, those who were talking to King Saul, obviously, had his listening ear for the king believed the distortion that David was his enemy and was out to get him.
I decided to check on how the dictionary defines the word, "distort," and what I found is this word accurately defines what the evil of gossip does. When something or someone is "distorted," they are twisted out of proper shape. Furthermore, a false or misleading account is portrayed. What is true is misrepresented as false.
In the life of David, he had no desire to see God's anointed, King Saul, eliminated. But over time, by dwelling on the falsehoods spread around by those he listened to, King Saul came to the conclusion that David was his enemy and was out to get him.
The result was that people began to take sides, as often happens when falsehoods are spread around. And as we will find out in the future, the sharp divisions driven between Saul and David by gossiping tongues lingered down through history.
It seems hard to imagine that a wagging tongue and listening ears could cause so much pain and destruction, but this is exactly what happened.
When I was 8-years-old, my grandpa asked if I would like to ride with him from California to Arizona. My parents and sister were coming in another car so off we went a few hours ahead and we stopped at one of those stores along the way that used to sell fruit, nuts and other tourist gifts. In the store they were selling a little copper sculpture of three monkeys. You may have seen one of these figurines yourself. On the statue it says, "Hear no evil, speak no evil, see no evil" and one monkey is covering its ears, while another covers its mouth and the third covers its eyes. I still have this little trinket and I've often thought how much heartache I could have saved myself had I followed the simple advice engraved in the copper.
In her story of the Trapp Family Singers on which the movie The Sound of Music was made, Maria Augusta Trapp gave one of the best descriptions of the danger that comes when rumors are spread through gossip's entangling vine: "It starts as an inflection of the voice, a question asked in a certain tone and not answered with, ‘no.' A prolonged little silence, a twinkle in the eye, a long-drawn ‘w-e-e—ell - I don't know.' These are the fine roots of the tree whose poisonous fruits are gossip and slander."
May we purpose to speak no evil and not only keep our tongues from moving, but our ears from listening to falsehoods that bring forth only poisonous fruit in our own lives.
"Why do we talk and gossip so continually, seeing that we so rarely resume our silence without some hurt done to our conscience?"
Thomas à Kempis
The Solution To Gossip!
"There is nothing that makes us love (others) as much as praying for them; and when you can once do this sincerely for any (person), you have fitted your soul for the performance of everything that is kind and civil…this will fill your heart with a generosity and tenderness, that will give you a better and sweeter behavior than anything…by considering yourself as an advocate with God for your neighbors and acquaintances, you would never find it hard to be at peace with them yourself."
Dorothy Valcàrcel, Author
When A Woman Meets Jesus
P.S. My book, When A Woman Meets Jesus, is now available wherever books are sold and on the internet at www.amazon.com, Christianbook.com, or by calling toll-free, 1-800-Christian. You can also go to www.whenawomanmeetsjesus.com and purchase the book through Paypal for $8.00. Or by calling Transformation Garden at 1-888-397-4348.
For more from Dorothy, please visit transformationgarden.com.