I did something very bad. Just recently. Something I would judge others for doing. Something I’ve prided myself at not doing. (Ironic, huh?)
As I thought about writing another blog today, words flew at me at hyper-speed; taunting me with their accusations: Hypocrite. Fake. You have no place in ministry. Nobody can trust you. You should not be writing blogs. Give it up.
I almost did.
And then I remembered something:
This is why I write my blog. So that others can learn from my mistakes.
Although I can clearly never be perfect, what I can do is take my screw-ups and share them with others so that they might steer clear of doing the same crappy things. So…
My sin? I gossiped. I told someone something that I had clearly been asked to keep a secret. And I got caught. I received an email from the person who had asked me to keep it undercover. They said that a friend of a friend had heard it from me. How’s that for gossip spreading like wildfire?
The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body…
I emailed this person back. (By the way, I do not do life with this person, and that I know of, they have never read my blog.) At first, I was so confused and caught off guard, I couldn’t remember who I had mentioned it to – I had been so careful not to say anything. Nevertheless, I immediately apologized and owned what I had evidently done. No excuses.
But then morning came. And I remembered what happened. And I was tempted. And everything in me wanted to defend myself…
Others already knew and had told me about it, even more details than I knew…Since it was eventually going to be public knowledge anyway and I found out that others already knew, I justified that it wasn’t as big a deal anymore…I thought it was already somewhat “out” so I shared it with someone completely removed from the situation…I usually never, ever do anything like this… On and on.
I wanted to write another email. I wanted to tell this person all of my “why’s”; you know, soften it up. Make myself look a little bit better. Save some face. That is, until I realized:
Those were my reasons. But they were not valid excuses.
There is never an excuse to betray someone’s trust.
Bottom line is, I should have never said anything until I knew I was released to do so.
There are several things that really suck about this whole thing. First, and foremost, I hurt someone and I can’t take it back. We can’t undo the harm we inflict on others. That is why it simply makes good sense not to do it in the first place – no matter how we justify it in our own minds.
We think gossip is not a big deal. We think flippant, thoughtless chatter isn’t a big deal. Heck, this day and age we think most sin is not a big deal. We rebel against the word “sin” because we look at God as some giant police in the sky with all His rules just to make us miserable, as if He gets joy in telling us “don’t” and likes watching us squirm.
No. That is not God.
“Sin is not bad because it’s forbidden. It’s forbidden because it’s bad.”
God is good. He warns us not to do things – or to do things – because He wants us to live up to our potential. He wants to keep us from hurting others. He wants to keep us from hurting ourselves.
Second, I hurt the person I gossiped to. When we say things we shouldn’t, we drag others into the mud as well. We put them in awkward situations and promote gossip as an acceptable practice.
Third, I hurt myself. Not only could I have punished myself a thousand times over, I gave the enemy a foothold in my mind. Yes, believe me – there really is an enemy who seeks to kill, steal, and destroy. He tried really hard to kill my spirit, steal my joy and destroy my ministry through all of this.
But he messed with the wrong chick. Cause see, even though I can’t erase what I did, I now know that I can use this to kick the devil’s proverbial you-know-what by hopefully making some good come out of it. And maybe keep you from doing the same dumb thing I did.
There’s a big difference between simply saying we’re sorry and true repentance, where we’re making restitution. I choose the latter.
I have to tell you, as much as I feel awful for the person I’ve wronged and would change it in a heartbeat if I could, I’m at least glad I got caught. Seriously. Because I want to be more careful with my words. I don’t want to hurt others. I want to be the best I can be. I want to be reminded that God’s ways are always the best ways.
I hope you are reminded too.