Friday, January 8, 2016

What Are You Communicating?

Secrets and gossip. I despise them. Especially if the gossip is detrimental to another person who is unaware of a situation. Although I am guilty of this sin (as we all are at one time or another), I have learned to avoid joining in the chaos the best I can. How do we respond to the "gossiper" initially? Do you tell the "gossipee" the slander being spread about them or do you keep it to yourself? Is it disobedience when we don't keep secret what was asked to be kept secret? I don't know what the right answer is to any of those questions, but I know how I can respond. The gossiper usually gets an encouraging word about the "gossipee." Focus on the positive. Or, I keep my mouth shut. I try to assess the pros and cons of revealing the information to the "gossipee." If the information can create a positive outcome for the person being talked about, then it can be appropriate. But if it is information which could cause catastrophe, I take it to prayer. Sometimes what we don't know doesn't hurt us.

In todays Gospel (Luke 5:12-16), I still wonder if the leper was disobedient or needed gossip for God's Plan to unfold:

It happened that there was a man full of leprosy in one of the towns where Jesus was; and when he saw Jesus, he fell prostrate, pleaded with him, and said, “Lord, if you wish, you can make me clean.” Jesus stretched out his hand, touched him, and said, “I do will it. Be made clean.” And the leprosy left him immediately. Then he ordered him not to tell anyone, but “Go, show yourself to the priest and offer for your cleansing what Moses prescribed; that will be proof for them.” The report about him spread all the more, and great crowds assembled to listen to him and to be cured of their ailments, but he would withdraw to deserted places to pray.

In Anne a lay apostle's book Whispers From the Cross, I love the following quote and advice she gives to alert us to be mindful that whatever comes out of our mouthes should further the Kingdom . . . not evil:

"In moments of useless communication when we are not in communion with Jesus, the enemy can come with temptation. Our talk is then subject to a dark influence. Our talk can then become subject to the enemy’s plan. In many ways and on many occasions we have furthered the plan of Satan through talking and other forms of communication that are not willed by heaven. Better we be mute than assist Satan in tearing down what the Lord attempts to build. Many things can happen in useless talking and random communication. Often what happens is destructive gossip. Before any communication, therefore, we must seek to determine if Jesus wants us to communicate. Is Jesus asking us to make this communication? Many times and probably most times the answer will be ‘No’. Jesus needs only the smallest percentage of the communications we make."

Lay apostles, do you find yourself gossiping or responding to others' negative gossip? If you are or do, stop it now. Reread the quote from Anne above. Even better (this idea just came to me!), print out the above quote to hand to the next gossiper you come across. Or, print it out for yourself if you have a gossiping problem. Nothing like a little reminder of the damage gossip can render in an already struggling world.

Thank you, Lord, for reminding me the importance of what comes out of my mouth should always reflect You!

God bless,

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