The Lord has been showing me things about my character that I have a habit of justifying. For some reason my justification does not sound just anymore. Instead I feel a conviction to repent.
I hesitated to share this with you…
I didn’t want everyone I have ever had a conversation with to read it and be hurt, wondering if I have talked about them behind their backs.
I didn’t want people to view me as a mean person.
I didn’t want to acknowledge I actually struggle with this, because then I will be admitting how much I failed as a friend.
There can be a ton of fear wrapped up in exposing the parts of us that are less than perfect, but the truth is I am imperfect and I can be mean, and I do fail people. If I allowed fear to hinder me from being unveiled, God would never be able to use those imperfections to help me or help others. It is not easy to push fear out of the way, but here goes a strong attempt!
When my husband and I leave a conversation, it could be with family, friends, strangers, my first notion is to assess and evaluate what took place. This doesn’t occur every single time, but it happens. I am an over-observer and I analyze EVERYTHING. I usually do this in my head, but if my husband is around I invite him into my conversation of how things went or why “so and so” said this or that or even what food was fed and how much. I desire to break down the encounter to make sure I was proper; most of these evaluations motivated by my own insecurities, grasping for pride, while at times unintentionally pointing out other people’s weaknesses.
Twice this week my husband and I had endearing moments with people we love and admire. Both times we got into the car afterwards and words came out of my mouth that were sorely unpleasant, negative assumptions blurting out before I gave them considerable thought. Immediately, my husband responded with a deliberate protest, reminding me of the good that had taken place and to give people the benefit of the doubt. The Lord used my husband to reflect my sin and reveal to me where I was wrong.
Then I looked behind me to see two innocent listening ears soaking in what was taking place. I understood right then that I was stirring gossip and a heart of ungratefulness, not just in my heart, but in my husband and son as well. I became angry with myself for setting such a poor example and I hope that my son will never do specifically what I had just done.
These situations where I assess and sometimes talk about people, are not usually unkind words, rather just observations that I note about a character trait or how someone is feeling or an elaboration of a perception I had while hanging out. Maybe that is why it was so hard for me to see it as gossip. On the other hand when I am talking about stuff to my husband, I often consider the fact that we are “ONE” as a green light to go on ahead! But I am realizing that whether I converse with myself in my mind or with my husband, doing so can very easily lead to a slippery slope of gossip. Every time I allowed myself to go there, made it way more easy to entertain negative thoughts masquerading as observations.
Avoid godless chatter, because those who indulge in it will become more and more ungodly. – 2 Timothy 2:16
So if I feel convicted about what I have been doing, what does God want me to do?
I believe God wants me to enjoy the opportunities He has gifted me to be in the presence of His people. To encourage and lift them up no matter where they are at in life. He wants me to love others in their presence as well as outside their presence. He wants me to give them the benefit of the doubt – meaning, I need to understand that I cannot possibly know or correctly observe people’s intentions, I should assume they are good-willed. God also wants me to be grateful, so full of thankfulness that there is no room to complain, assess, or talk about anything other than a praise.
There might be certain times that a need might arise to talk about people, but I will be waiting for the conviction of The Holy Spirit on that one. For now, I have been confronted with the choice to abandon my desire to talk about others or evaluate encounters every time I get in the car. I choose to rejoice and be thankful that God has placed such beautiful people in my life.
I repent of over analyzing circumstances and talking about people when they are not around. I repent of justifying gossip as if my husband and I being one flesh makes it ok. I repent from drawing my family into darkness and setting such a poor example. I repent of assuming what people are going through, and I repent of having an ungrateful heart. I repent of my sin.
Lord, prune this part of my heart and remove it from me. Help me to genuinely enjoy every opportunity you provide for us to be in the company of your loved ones and not talk about others just because of my own insecurities. Remove pride and replace it with humility. Thank you for giving me a husband who is willing to stop sin in its tracks and call me to be better. Bless him! Please protect my child from seeing my sinful behavior. I pray he will be better than I am. I pray you would transform me and I pray you would help others who struggle with this as well in Jesus’ name AMEN!
**I truly hope no one reading this that I have a relationship with is offended or hurt at the thought of whether I have done this after leaving a conversation with you, but if you are, I humbly and deeply apologize for doing this. The things I have said were never malicious, but never the less it was wrong and I am taking responsibility for my actions and committing to change. Although what I did was definitely not in love, I believe my love for you is greater than the sin I have entertained, the love that has brought me to repentance. I’m so so sorry.