The Power of a Woman’s Words by Sharon Jayne
A monster was sneaking into my yard in the dark of night and devouring my prize plants. I never saw his beady eyes or heard his pounding footsteps—just the aftermath of his destruction. He left a trail of slime as he moved from plant to plant, leaving large gaping holes in broad leaf gerbera daisies, gnawing entire velvety trumpet-shaped blossoms on purple petunias, and reducing bushy begonias to naked stalks.
I asked a neighbor about my flower bed’s demise, and she said, “You’ve got slugs.”
“Slugs!” I exclaimed. “The yard monster is a tiny little slug?”
“You can put out slug bait to catch them and see for yourself,” my confident neighbor continued.
I sprinkled slug bait all around the yard and then waited. The next morning I viewed the “monsters’” remains. The beasts were about a quarter-inch long—about the size of my little toe nail. How could something so small cause so much damage in such a short amount of time? I mused.
Then my mind thought of something else very small that can cause enormous damage in a short amount of time…gossip.
King Solomon wrote, “The words of a gossip are like choice morsels; they go down to a man’s inmost parts” (Proverbs 18:8).
Just as one tiny slug can destroy an entire flower bed, so can one tiny morsel of gossip destroy a person’s reputation, mar one’s character, and devour a friendship.
In the South we have this knack for making gossips sound…almost nice. All you have to do is add “bless her heart” to the end of the sentence.
It goes like this: “Susie gained fifty pounds with that last pregnancy, bless her heart.”
“Marcy’s husband ran off with his secretary, bless her heart.”
“I heard Clair yelling at the postman yesterday, bless her heart.”
But all the “bless her hearts” don’t mask what is really going on…gossip.
Maybe if we are spending our time talking about people, we need to fill our minds with better material, such as good books and other reading material (and I don’t mean People magazine or the Enquirer).
What exactly is gossip? My dictionary defines gossip as “easy, fluent, trivial talk, talk about people behind their backs.” It’s repeating information about another person’s private affairs. If you have to look around to make sure that no one can hear what you are saying, you are probably gossiping. If you would not say something in front of the person you are talking about, then you’re probably gossiping.
We have often heard the phrase “knowledge is power.” Perhaps that is why gossip is so appealing. It suggests a certain amount of power because “I have the inside scoop.”
But gossip is not power. On the contrary, it shows a lack of power…a lack of self-control.
But it takes two to tango the gossip dance. “Without wood the fire goes out; without gossip a quarrel dies down” (Proverbs 26:20). The Bible tells us to make every effort to avoid gossipers (Proverbs 20:19).
A good rule of thumb is if you are not part of the problem or part of the solution, then keep the information to yourself.
Paul warned, “Some of you are living idle lives, refusing to work and wasting time meddling in other people’s business” (2 Thessalonians 3:11 ). Other translations call such people “busybodies” .
One day a woman felt overwhelmed with guilt over her years of malicious gossip. She went to the local priest and confessed her sin. The priest was all too aware of her wagging tongue and had experienced the sting of her words firsthand…or rather secondhand.
“What can I do to rectify all the damage I have caused with my gossip?” she asked.
“Gather a bag of feathers,” he began. “Then go around to each house and place a feather at their door.”
That seemed like a simple enough request, so the woman did just as the priest had instructed. After the task was complete, she returned. “I have done what you requested,” she said. “Now what am I to do?”
“Now go back and retrieve each of the feathers,” he replied.
“That is impossible,” the woman argued. “The wind will have blown them all around town by now.”
“Exactly,” replied the wise priest. “Once you have spoken an ill word, it drifts through the air on wings of gossip, never to be retrieved. God has forgiven you, as you have asked. But I cannot remove the consequences of your hurtful words or gather them from the places they have landed.”
Here’s an idea. If a friend approaches you with some “news” or a “concern” about another person, stop and ask, “May I quote you on what you’re about to tell me?” That will usually put a lid on the conversation before it even begins.
Let us make a home that is warm and welcoming, comfortable and freeing – a place where we can express the beauty of our Faith and nurture relationships with people we love. Let us build a home that reflects our personalities and renews our souls. Today, do something special to show your loved ones you care. Put a tablecloth on the table, light a candle, bake a cake, buy some flowers to grace your table….It doesn’t have to be huge…just something to lighten the burdens of the day and to bring a smile to those who cross your threshold.
When we are on our deathbed, it won’t be how much we have accomplished, how clean our house is or how many Christmas cookies we baked…. It will be: Do I go to the door to greet my husband when he comes home? Do I take the time to listen to him? Did I take time out to look and listen when the kids were talking to me? Did I read them a bedtime story? Did I make sure they said their prayers? These are the priorities… If you enjoy this video , please Like and Subscribe.
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A very optimistic book showing how an “ordinary” Catholic can become a great saint without ever doing anything “extraordinary”–just by using the many opportunities for holiness that to most people lie hidden in each day. Written with an assurance of success that is totally convincing and infectious. Many easy but infallible means of reaching great sanctity.
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Good reminder! When is too much, too much? Sometimes, you know something that could help in the right time and place…..its just discerning when is the right time and place? 😉 Thank you.