I attended a Ladies’ Bible Study this week and one of the participants is a pastor’s wife. She started in her twenties and is now at retirement age. In the course of our discussion on how to handle difficulties when they come our way, she remarked that as a pastor’s wife, she’s had to forgive people for gossiping about her. I looked at all the ladies and said, “I’ve not heard about anyone gossiping about me and if they are, I don’t want to hear about it!”
They laughed and one lady started to kid me. 🙂
Truly, if the pastor and his wife are being talked about in an unkind way, the people doing the talking may want to be sure of their facts. I told the ladies that “If the pastor’s wife is being gossiped about, that can cause division in the church.”
We reminded ourselves that God hates gossip, it is akin to murder. Young people today have killed themselves after being harassed on social media sites, so in those cases, gossip literally caused such distress it turned into murder from despair. “Dear God, help our young people to feel valued and to trust in You.”
Consider the servant of Saul, the future King David, a man after God’s own heart. David was being stalked by Saul and his warriors so Saul could kill him. David never took revenge or killed his enemy. He said, “Who am I to kill God’s anointed?”
David wanted to be right with God. He trusted God to work things out in the way God wanted them to go. In the New American Standard Bible it says in Hebrews 10: 30-31, “For we know Him who said, ‘VENGEANCE IS MINE, I WILL REPAY.’ And again, ‘THE LORD WILL JUDGE HIS PEOPLE.’ It is a terrible thing to fall into the hands of the living God.”
When I’ve been really upset with someone, it helps to think that maybe I don’t know where they’re coming from. What caused that person to slander my name? It hurts, but later I wonder, did I offend them in a way that I need to apologize?
Ultimately, my life is in God’s hands. I can’t make someone be kind and I have no control over those who choose to be cruel. I can only choose my own reactions. If someone decides to gossip and slander me it usually comes back to my attention. Then I deal with it, hopefully with tact and God’s wisdom. I take it to heart not to let the sun go down on my wrath.
When I don’t forgive, I feel lousy physically, emotionally and spiritually. So I’m all for forgiveness, even if it’s not always easy. God bless!