Liz needs help to stop gossip from destroying a friendship.Before You Listen
Theme: Dousing the fire of gossip.
1. Have you ever had a fight with a friend that turned out to be a misunderstanding? How did it start? How did it get resolved?
2. What do you and your friends talk about when you’re together? Do you talk about your classes, common interests,church,or other people? Ephesians 4:29 reminds, “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.” Does your speech build other people up or tear them down?
“Gossip is no good! It causes hard feelings and comes between friends"
In this episode, Grampa Anole and Liz have a scary moment with a fire. In 1825, strong winds and little rain combined to form the Miramichi Fire. This fire killed 160 people and left 15,000 people homeless. It burned 3 million acres of land in Maine and in New Brunswick, Canada (Source: http://www.foresthistory.org).
Words can be as dangerous as a spark that sets thousands of acres on fire. James wrote “the tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts. Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark. The tongue is also a fire…” (James 3:5-6a).
Gossip starts small. It can be just two people talking about someone else, but it spreads beyond the two people as fast as a fire. Taking back your words after you’ve said them is harder to do than stopping a raging wildfire. What can you do about the sting of gossip? Self-control! Think about this: If you would never say the words to a person, then never say them about the person. Only you can stop the wildfire known as gossip!
Want to dig deeper and learn how we should talk about others? Check out Proverbs 26:17-21, Ephesians 4:29 and Philippians 4:8.
“Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people.” This quote (some attribute it to Eleanor Roosevelt) say that talking about people (gossip) is choosing the lowest form of communication—talking about people instead of ideas.
One place you can practice controlling your speech is at the dinner table with your family. What do you talk about? If you talk about people, stop and ask each other, as Grandpa Anole did, “Are we part of the problem or the solution?” If you are part of the problem, then it’s time to talk about something else. Keep a jar of slips of paper with other discussion ideas by the table. You can look online for “family discussion questions,” or pull ideas from a current newspaper or family devotion. The more you practice talking about ideas and events instead of people, the easier it will be to stop gossip at home and with friends!