February 07, 2012

Easy for You to Say - Titus 2sday

So far on this journey to becoming the woman God has called me to be, the woman modeled in Titus 2:3-5, I've studied and reflected on what godliness is (holy, reverent and sacred) and how to live in a godly manner (worshipful, pious, focused on God, inspiring to others).  It's been a time of peace and wonder as I've learned to focus more on God in each moment.

But starting today it's going to get messy.  And uncomfortable.  Today I start looking at the things I'm called to be and seeing how I measure up.  This is where God's going to show me the things I do wrong.  It would be discouraging if I didn't also know that with the rebuking comes loving guidance and the opportunity to get it right.  With that in mind, let's look at the next thing a woman is called to be...

1. Godliness
2. Godly Speech

Likewise, teach the older women to be reverent in the way they live, not to be slanderers...Titus 2:3

**Some ideas pulled and paraphrased from the book A Woman's High Calling by Elizabeth George**

It all builds upon itself.  We are called to be reverent, to conduct ourselves in a manner that reflects God as being at the center of our lives.  If we're doing that, we'll be loving Him, thinking about Him, and talking about Him.  That preoccupation should show in everything we do from the way we act, our manners, how we dress, and how we talk.

Okay, we're not to be slanderers, but what is a slanderer?  Slanderer comes from the Greek word diabolos, which means "malicious gossip" or "false accuser."  Diabolos is used 34 times in the New Testament as a title for Satan, one time about Judas, one time to describe hardened unbelievers in the end times, and two times in reference to women.

So, check this out....a woman who slanders and gossips is lumped in with Satan, Judas and hardened unbelievers.  Is that the company you want to be in?  It sure isn't who I want to be hanging out with.  It isn't who God wants us to be with, either.  He calls us to a high standard of godly speech.  He expects us to grow in this area, to mature, and to strive for it.  In 1 Timothy 3:11 the women who are in church leadership are told to use their tongues for ministering goodness instead of gossiping.

How we use our tongues serves as a precise measurement of our Christian maturity...How we use our tongues reflects on everything we do and affects everything we do, and every person we come in contact with. ~ Dr. Gene Getz in The Measure of a Woman

What causes us to slander?

  • An evil heart (this is why we must fill our heart with things of God).
  • Hatred.
  • Foolishness.
  • Idleness.
None of those things have a place in the life of a godly woman so we must be on guard against slander and remove ourselves from it.  If we don't there are many consequences, both public and private.

Publicly, gossip separates friends (think of how it felt when someone said something unkind or untrue about you) as the injured party seeks to be removed from the slanderer.  It causes strife.  Here, think of a time when something was said and had it been dropped the matter would have ended, but the gossip continued, batted about like a ping-pong ball agitating everyone....it's what we all call "drama" these days.  Gossip causes problems within the church, too.  Sadly, Christians are not immune.  And lastly, God says gossip is the same as murder.  Wait! What??  It's true.  Gossip kills....it kills friendships, ministries, leaders, marriages, churches...

On the personal front, gossip puts a serious damper on our ministries.  We're supposed to minister to each other and teach the younger women.  Let me ask you, if you witnessed a woman in the church gossiping and telling all the juicy details of some bit of scandal would you take seriously any advice she might be inclined to give you concerning your behavior?  Would she be someone you'd feel safe and comfortable going to for help?  Not likely.  If you're that woman, do you think anyone wants you to minister to them?  On top of that, what happens if word gets back to the one we're gossiping about?  Then we've driven a spike into the heart of the very one we're called by God to minister to!  Gossip also costs us our dignity, respect, character, and our spiritual growth (we're not growing if we're knowingly gossiping).  If we can't minister because of our losses, we lose our usefulness, too.

The last thing to remember is this, GOSSIP CAN NEVER BE TAKEN BACK.  You can apologize from now until your dying breath.  You can try to make up for it.  But no matter what you do, the words once spoken are out there.  Even if you are forgiven by the target of your gossip, the harm and hurt remain.  

Think before you speak.
Do your words about others bring healing.....or harm?


Modern Day Disciple said...

Great and truthful post! I love A Woman's High Calling! We must always be guarding against this sin. I think it is the hardest one for woman since we so love to use our words! Thanks for your well written post on the facts, Sistah!

Stacy said...

So true, Dawn. We want to talk everything out and it is so easy to slip past the line into gossip or slander.

Ellen Stewart (aka Ellie/El/e/Mrs. Seaman) said...

I have been put in some strange circumstances at work lately that I could fill my blog with, except I cannot. I tend to unload on Brad just to get things off my chest.

I sure wish I could share more with others, but these are not my tales to tell. It's hard, but it's right.

However, one thing did happen today, a man I work with said something I found dismissive, and instead of complaining to others--slander--I wrote to him. I know it won't change anything, but I told HIM instead of finding ways to tear him down in others' eyes.

Stacy said...

You did it the right way, Ellen. We just talked about this in Bible study. Not the slander angle but someone who feared they had gotten the whole "turn the other cheek" thing wrong by standing up for themselves when accused of something. Our teachers, who know their Bible better than just about anyone I've ever met, said Jesus was talking in relation to the Gospel when he said that....not about the day to day business of life. We are not to be doormats and it's okay to stand up for yourself. You dealt directly with the person so....YOU GO, GIRL!


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