The rooster doesn’t seem to know the difference in daylight and dark. He crows in the morning, he crows at night, and at high noon, sun shining, or rain clouds forming, he perches somewhere near and wears us out with his cock-a-doodle-doo’ing. Likewise, his harem of chickens cackle on all day, boasting of their latest egg laying experience, while those of us at the horse barn get caught up in the chaotic cacophony.
It’s not unlike the commotion of constant chitchat, which seems to ensue at work, home, or any other event where co-workers, family or friends flock together. Someone doesn’t meet our expectations and we assume justification in trash talking them to anyone willing to listen. We are overworked, under-appreciated, taken advantage of, and now we feel we have a green light for gossip.
A family member decides to ditch a once-in-a-lifetime event, and we feel we have every right to replay what they’ve done, long after they’ve forgotten it themselves. A friend makes a foolish choice and they are fodder for tantalizing talk at the dinner table. Someone is rude to us for no reason and the gloves come all the way off. A boss places unreasonable demands on us and we just have to let off steam. Venting is therapeutic. Or, so it seems. In reality, it’s one of the easiest traps to slip into, and one of the hardest to escape. While we are fanning the flames, we’re the ones getting burned. It wears us down mentally, physically, and anyone with half a conscious begins to feel guilty. But we continue to convince ourselves it’s our duty to rake the “really guilty ones” over the coals.
Proverbs 26:20 “Without wood a fire goes out; without a gossip a quarrel dies down.”
The words are right there. We see. We know. We’ve done this before. After all, there’s nothing quite like the righteous indignation of thinking we are the ones who are right. Even if our self-focused opinions lead to anger, stress and frustration — for some insanely repetitive reason — we keep signing up for the scenic route around the same old mountain.
I recently found myself in more than one situation with no shortage of words. The Holy Spirit reminded me to keep quiet. My late father-in-law’s wisdom reworked its way through my mind, “The less I say, the less I have to give account for.” And yet I ran into the fray, stumbling over everyone else’s words to hurry and get in my own.
And now, I am worn out on words. I am worn out on my own words, and I am worn out on the words of others. I feel frustrated, angry and stressed about all that has been discussed. I’m certain nothing that was said changed any of the situations. But every word I spoke contributed to the “dis-ease” of all that was happening.
In the book of Titus, Chapter 3 verses 1-7, it says: “Remind the people to be subject to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready to do whatever is good, to slander no one, to be peaceable and considerate, and always to be gentle toward everyone.
Trust me, I’m not climbing up on a self-righteous soapbox. In fact, this is more of a confession. I’ve been doing a lot of “fence-sitting” next to that rowdy old rooster. The more I flap my mouth, the harder it is for me to hear from God. The louder my voice, the quieter His becomes. It causes me the greatest stress. It causes me to stop and look around; and when I recognize the same old path I’m on again, I realize it’s time to turn back. I need His direction. I need to hear His words, not my own.
So, I crank up some contemporary Christian music to drown out the sounds of those crazy chickens. Music can change our moods quicker than most anything. Then, I stop long enough to sit down and look for some answers to this age-old problem of talking too much.
I get more words.
But these will never wear us out.
“And the words of the Lord are flawless, like silver purified in a crucible, like gold refined seven times.” Psalm 12:6
The words of the reckless pierce like swords, but the tongue of the wise brings healing Proverbs 12:18
“Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.” Philippians 4:8
What are you spending your time thinking about?
Who are you talking about?
Have they done something far worse than the things you have done?
Sometimes it’s so hard to extend our mercy.
But mercy has been given to us, over and over and over again.
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