Let Them Be!

This Week’s Meditation:  “Let Them Be!”
Read: James 3:1-12

Anyone else one of the committed 29 million who woke at 3:40am to watch the Royal Wedding this past Saturday? What teenage girl doesn’t dream of marrying a prince for her senior wedding project…until he gets married, that is. HA! In high school, I was so blessed to take an independent study I created titled British Women in History and Literature. Mrs. Hapgood and I would read British novels, study female British leaders, discuss and debate William & Kate’s wedding that happened that spring, and drink gallons of tea and eat an unhealthy amount of biscuits. One thing we circled back to is that every individual we studied had rumors and gossip happening around them and we don’t know today which was truth or lies. Whether they were loved or hated, people were known to talk about them. Gossip is defined as rumor or reports revealing personal or sensational facts about others.

One of the families we used to vacation with every year had an aunt who was not the average woman size. As a youngin’ with no filter, I stated out loud where she could hear me, “She is fat.” Even as I relive that horrid comment of mine, my face turns red from embarrassment. But as you can imagine, my mom yanked me aside and scolded me, “We don’t call people that!” “But she is, Mom! Don’t you tell us we need to not eat more than we need because it’s not healthy to get fat?”

I don’t remember my mom’s whole explanation, but I do remember her teaching me that it doesn’t matter what we say about others, whether it’s true or not; it’s not our place to share their story. She taught me young that gossip and rumors did nothing good. As I grew through my school years and into adulthood, I continued to hear gossip and rumors and even caught myself sharing information that wasn’t mine to share. It’s such an easy trap to get caught in when everyone around me was doing it without hesitation. It may have been easy for parents to teach kids that, but a whole other story to actually set the example for our kids.

I thought of this as I was listening to the commentary leading up to the Royal Wedding. Meghan’s dad was not able to walk his daughter down the aisle at her wedding because of his health, is what the Kensington Palace officially issued in a statement last week. But of course, everyone was creating more details as to why. I was tempted to type in a Google search to find more details, but then I realized that it’s not my business to know her family life. It does not affect me in any way, why am I so curious? This is their wedding day, can’t we just let them be blissfully happy for a few hours! Why can’t all these reporters just LET THEM BE! Because culture tells us that everything is our business and knowledge is power, with celebrities or our local friends whom we interact with. But if we look to God’s Word, it teaches us that we have enough to discuss in our own lives, rather than dig our hands into other peoples. James says that if we could control our tongues, we could be perfect…but no one can tame the tongue. Psalms and Proverbs gives us wisdom on this subject too:

Proverbs 16:28 “A troublemaker plants seeds of strife; gossip separates the best of friends.”

Proverbs 26:22: Rumors are dainty morsels that sink deep into one’s heart.”

Psalms 15:3,5b: “Those who refuse to gossip or harm their neighbors or speak evil of their friends…such people will stand firm forever.”

How often do I look to other people’s lives to compare or comment on INSTEAD of just focusing on what God has put in my life to focus on? This world shows us hatred and gives us trouble…but God is our peace and shows us truth. We need to constantly be redirecting our attention back to what God has put in front of us daily to do. It’s as simple as that!

Make it Personal:  Do you ever catch yourself falling into this worldly trap of gossip/rumors/sharing? What might you be avoiding or missing in your own life when your focus is pulled in that different direction?

Have a great week, Pastor Ashley Litwiller
Arthur Mennonite Church, 
710 E. Park St.