|About Jordan: Lives in historic central Virginia with her husband and daughter. She is a first grade teacher at a Christian school, and loves early mornings and spending time with her family.|
What God Has to Say About "Spilling the Tea"
By Jordan Sparnroft
I live in a small town where running into at least two people you know at the grocery store is not an uncommon occurrence. Even acquaintances know your entire life story: who your parents are, what year you graduated high school, who you married, your children’s names… pretty much everything but your social security number.
A complacency toward gossip and slander in a small town is easy to adopt. It is often masked behind "prayer requests for friends," but in reality, we just want our friends to "spill the tea" so that we can feel better about our own mess. Recently God has been unraveling this complacency in my own heart as I’ve re-entered the world from being a stay-at-home-mom during a pandemic.
When I started participating in more social settings, I decided that “This time will be different, I will not participate in gossip or drama.” Before I knew it, I found myself lapping up the spilled tea and spilling full kettles myself. God has convicted me that these conversations are not to just be avoided in the workplace and among peers but also in our homes and with our husbands. We are called to holiness not just in our conversations with our friends but with our spouses and family as well. Ouch.
God loves unity, especially within His church. Satan loves nothing more than attempting to burn down God’s kingdom through gossip and slander. Anger and pride are his matches that ignite the flame of our tongue.
When we gossip and slander, we are mocking God and His creation. We are pouring out pride when He calls us to humility and gentleness. We are taking the place of God in judging others. We are withholding the grace and love that God pours out onto us daily from those who desperately need it. When we gossip and slander, we are tearing down His kingdom with hate when He has called us to build it up in love.
May we instead build up the kingdom by pouring grace onto the person who is slandering and to the person who is being slandered through a gentle correction in love and ceasing gossip the moment we recognize it. Let’s build the kingdom by keeping our tongues silent and removing ourselves from situations that tempt us to gossip. James tells us that no human being can tame the tongue, that it is a restless evil, full of deadly poison. So let’s ask for help and grace from the only One who can tame it.
A Prayer for Our Tongues
Forgive me for the countless times I have let my tongue run wild and cause division in your kingdom. Set a guard over my mouth. Keep watch over the door of my lips. May the words that flow out of me build up your kingdom and your people, with wisdom that is pure, peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere. Give me a tender heart to the people around me, even those who have wronged me; they are your creations. Help me to not sin in my anger but to first seek you before seeking my peers. Give me courage and boldness to speak the truth in love. Give me the strength to forgive as you have forgiven me. May the words that come out of me saturate those who hear them with your grace.