“Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.” — Ephesians 4:29
Scandals, gossip and sports can go hand-in-hand sometimes since fans want to know every detail about their favorite players and teams. As we follow our teams, we feel like the faces of the franchise are close to us. But when we hear rumors, we should wait until wrongdoing is verified by at least two sources before we assume the worst. Athletes and coaches still need the benefit of the doubt and understanding because some allegations are proven wrong after more information is revealed. Though it’s human nature to be curious, we shouldn’t get a thrill about the misfortunes or the self-inflicted wounds of others.
Before, during and after the birth of Christ, many people doubted the virgin birth and couldn’t understand how Mary and Joseph remained pure before Christ came. It wasn’t easy for Mary to hear the gossip when she knew she didn’t do anything wrong, but many people assumed the worst. Mary would remember the reassuring words of the angel when she felt overwhelmed. “But the angel said to her, ‘Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favor with God. You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus'” (Luke 1:30-31).
How do you feel when somebody criticizes you? Remember, we are all sinners in need of God’s forgiveness (Romans 3:23). Paul rebuked the Corinthians for having loose tongues, and he urged them to correct the problem before he came to visit. “I fear that there may be discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, slander, gossip, arrogance and disorder” (2 Corinthians 12:20).
When the Bible describes the best way to speak in order to please God and be helpful to people, the Lord commands us to be kind and show love with uplifting words. “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. … Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you” (Ephesians 4:29, 31-32).
Let’s not get caught up in the dirty details of others’ lives, spread rumors or slander others, or fall into the gossip wheel. Don’t get sidetracked from your own calling by getting consumed with situations and rumors you shouldn’t be involved in. Instead, avoid unwholesome talk and speak with integrity, honoring God by building people up with your words and actions.
— Bill Kent, Pastor of Memorial Baptist Church, Sylvania, Georgia
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