It is CLEAN UP THE WORLD WEEKEND.  Although the spirit of this weekend is to remove litter from the earth, I want to talk a little about one of the most destructive “litter” known to man – gossip.

Gossip is a sneaky sin. I’ve fallen into that trap and I’m sure you have too. We have to be aware of it when it comes around and learn how to squelch it before it spreads. Even though everyone in the fruit bowl was gossiping about plum, she refused to take part. She chose, instead, to make a positive statement about the fruits, noting that God made them to be unique.

If we can meet ugliness with a soft answer, it will turn away wrath. Soft, sweet, kind responses are always appropriate. I know some people will just say, “I don’t want to hear your gossip” and walk away, but I think there’s an opportunity to help the person attempting to spread the gossip as well. If you say you don’t want to hear the gossip, it will stop them in their tracks, but it may hurt or embarrass them so much they decide to give up on church or on Christian friendships. I never want to be a stumbling block to anyone, so I believe it’s a better idea to defuse the gossip by pouring honey on it. It’s surprisingly effective, and the other person’s feelings are spared.

Wouldn’t it be better to have a soft answer for a gossip?  Pour honey on it by first saying something like, “You know I love you, but I really don’t think we should be discussing this.”  That’s a soft answer that does not make the other person feel so bad.  Always remember to be soft instead of harsh.  None of us are above the temptation to speak out of turn from time to time.  We may think we are helping a situation when we gossip.  Of course we are not, but it’s something I believe we have all done from time to time.  God doesn’t give up on us – we need to be patient and loving with one another.

A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. – Proverbs 15:1

Just imagine what the fruits would have to say about watermelon! She is so large she can’t fit into the fruit bowl. She might even break it! God made watermelon a certain way so that the fruit would taste a certain way. It doesn’t do watermelon any good to whine and cry and tell everyone that she wished she looked like banana. If she looked like banana, she would taste like a banana and in fact would BE a banana. That’s not good because when I reach for a watermelon, I want the fruit that looks and tastes like a watermelon, not a banana. 😉