The godless spread lies about me, but I focus my attention on what you are saying; they're bland as a bucket of lard, while I dance to the tune of your revelation.
(Psalm 119:69-70 The Message)
I read a post from one of my Facebook friends this week. It seemed like she was facing some challenges with a fellow believer speaking unkindly about her in the circle of friends they kept together. Here's her post: "Remember, if they talk about someone else they are going to do the same about you...we all have quirks, sins and what have you..." Right in the middle of the post, she states a pretty awesome truth: "I am learning to work around those things in people." The post ends with some simple words: "Faced with a Christian friend that has the gift of gab when it comes to people." She could not have put it better - - we need to learn to work around the things in people that give us cause to pause! Thanks Alice! Your words are sound advice!
David was faced with the same challenge - - friends were spreading gossip and lies about him. His response was much the same of my friends - - he turned to God, listening intently to what God had to say about him and the situation - - not to the hurtful words of those who were speaking these unkind words. He was learning to work AROUND the things in people that just made his life a little less than enjoyable. Sometimes one of the hardest things we face is the seeming betrayal of a friend. Confidences don't remain that way; words are spoken that may bring a little hurt within our emotions; and we find ourselves in a situation of wanting to say, "Get 'em, God!" Instead, we are smack-dab in those circumstances because God is teaching us to work AROUND those things in others!
The Amplified Bible says this about those who act like this: "Their minds are dull and brutal." Now, if that doesn't describe those individuals to a tee, I don't know what does! They have a certain "dullness" of mind that just becomes apparent in the words they speak. Dullness is really a condition of being without spirit. In this case, I would have to say that the individuals doing the talking are without the "Spirit" in that area of their life. They are not being "governed" by the Spirit of God - - they are allowing unwholesome gossip, backbiting, and the like to be part of their communication because they have not given that area over to the control of the Holy Spirit. In another sense, their dullness is evident in the lack of "richness" within their conversation. God reminds us often to speak words that "edify", or build up, each other. Those closed-door conversations, secret words in the corners of the office, and the passing comments hidden from public hearing are simply not "building" blocks - they are more like "wrecking balls".
Not only are the words of a gossip dull, but they are brutal. There is a sense of "cruelness" in what is spoken. In a sense, they are "animal-like", tearing apart another just like a ravenous animal would attack its prey. These type of words do noting but create hurt, deep wounds, and ongoing "soreness" in a relationship. That is why they are so dangerous!
David (and Alice) give us a little insight into "handling" these dull and brutal words - - focus our attention elsewhere. Learn to "work around" those things in others - - not by focusing on them, but by focusing on God in them. All of us have the ability to be just as dull and brutal - - we would want others to extend the same grace in our lives as we are being asked to extend to them. Forgiveness is indeed hard - - but it is oh SO rewarding. There is nothing that confounds someone more than being "deserving" of our anger, but receiving our grace!
I like David's explanation of those that tend toward gossip - - they are like tubs of lard! Ever see a tub of lard? Not so pretty, but also not very easy to get a handle on its contents! Try holding onto lard - - it takes the shape of what it is in contact with because it is really not capable of holding its own when it is being "pressed upon" or exposed to the "heat" of an outside force. I am not saying the "gossiper" cannot help but conform to the gossip around them, but they just tend to go with the flow more than they know!
So, take a lesson from Alice today - - learn to work AROUND the one that speaks those words of unkindness. They probably deserve your anger - - but they will be shut down by your grace!