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Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Loose Lips Sink Ships


20 Don't bad-mouth your leaders, not even under your breath, 
   And don't abuse your betters, even in the privacy of your home. 
   Loose talk has a way of getting picked up and spread around. 
   Little birds drop the crumbs of your gossip far and wide.
(Ecclesiastes 10:20 The Message)

During World War II posters hung in theaters, grocers, and around town where everyone could see them, announcing the message that "Loose lips sink ships".  The idea was that you might never know who your true enemy is - even a slight "dropping" of a little information here or there could mean tragedy in the battle being fought.  The exact meaning was that "unguarded" talk could cost lives!  

Mom taught me that "if you cannot say something good about someone, don't say anything at all."  Ummm...truth is, if I had heeded that message, I'd have said a WHOLE lot less in life!  The fact is, it is easy to get caught up in the "talk" of the office, the church socials, or simply in a group of friends.  The "words" just seem to "fly" sometimes, don't they?  Have you ever been at the end of one of those "sessions" where those words just flew from your mouth and looked back?  In the moment, you did not realize the impact of your words - in the end, you sometimes are filled with regret.

It may be that you realize that the words were spoken to someone you are not sure will keep them in confidence - allowing something you said to "drift back" to the one you said them about.  Or perhaps you said something that was well-intentioned, but that message will be misconstrued when it is repeated to the next person.  Regardless, the outcome is pretty much the same - loose lips sink ships!  We need to be aware of our words - "UNGUARDED" words are dangerous.

Gossip is not a new thing - it is has been a problem from the beginning of time.  There are times when we just need to have a confidant to speak to - someone who will listen, give wise counsel, and allow the concerns you have to "get worked out" in the privacy of that exchange.  This is different from what I think our writer had in mind when he said that "little birds drop the crumbs of your gossip far and wide."  

Gossip is mostly idle talk or rumor.  Within the gossip is speculation and insinuation - we "think" that someone is acting a certain way because of a certain reason; we "imagine" that the actions of a person are not right; we interject little "barbs" that will stimulate the conversation to go a certain way. It is a dangerous thing because it is based on supposition, not fact.

Loose talk has a way of getting "picked up" and "spread around".  If you don't believe that then think about the last time you shared something of some real importance - a revelation of truth that really could change a circumstance for the better.  How fast did that get around?  Probably not all that fast!  But...share one indiscretion about yourself or another and watch it mushroom!

So, the next time you think you can "let it all hang out" in that crowd of "friends" - think about what you are saying before you say it!  A wise teacher once told me, "Think all you say, but don't say all you think!"  Perhaps my teacher had learned that lesson over the years of his life, as well.  I know I am more guarded in my "loose words" today than I was even a month ago.  I may think a lot, but I am not saying everything I think!  Just some "words" to ponder!