Today I'm thinking about a time when I discovered that someone was spreading her third-hand account of an event in my life to anybody who would listen. Hers were the most vicious category of rumors--the kind I couldn't just dismiss as a complete fabrication because they contained enough of the truth to stab through the heart. My emotions ranged from anger to pain at the injustice of the situation as I continued to learn of the depth, width and breadth of her gossip--which ranged from targeting random strangers to my closest friends.
I took some comfort from Romans 1, mentally chastising her as one filled with "every kind of wickedness" including gossip and slander. Faithless, heartless, ruthless...my angry heart ticked down the list with some glee. And with each "check" on my list, my own sense of self-worth grew.
And then, with reassuring predictability, the Holy Spirit turned the mirror of the Word on my own heart. "How many times have you carelessly spoken half-truths without searching out the whole story, Chrystal? When's the last time you envied something that wasn't yours? What was the last promise you failed to keep?"
I'll spare you the number of self-justifying, "but Lord" comments I made. The concept that He hates all sin equally still trips me up most of the time. The bottom line was simply that I had failed again at the charge He'd given me earlier to be quick to forgive and even quicker to judge myself. When James charged us to be swift to listen and slow to speak, he meant it.
I still struggle to love this person. I still often feel betrayed. But I'm challeged once again by the love the Lord has for us. It's an ongoing process, but it's better to take the low road and use words to encourage, exhort, and edify than for me to be exalted in my own eyes. I pray the grace to be humble over you as well. God bless.