My friend John has a gift for being real and honest and transparent. He can speak the truth in love better than anyone I know. I’m aware of this because I’ve been on the receiving end of it more than once.
He’s a pastor in Toledo, OH but also works part-time at a local drug store chain. The other day he was behind the register when a saintly looking elderly woman came to check out. At the same time, in the next check-out line, a rather burley guy was asking for some cigarettes.
The woman in John’s line suddenly had a “holier-than-thou” smirk on her face as she mumbled some self-righteous comment about how disgusting cigarettes are and how she’d never do such a thing.
Feeling prompted by the Holy Spirit my friend John leaned forward and said, “How do you feel about gossip?”
By the look on her face John could tell that she was convicted about her words.
Then John added, “It seems to be that the Good Book (Bible) has more to say about gossip than it does about lighting up.”
After relating the story to me John commented that he’d rather have a church full of smokers than a church full of gossips because you can put out the cigarette before you come in but its hard to shut off a spirit of gossip.
We need to weigh our words carefully!