Wednesday, November 7, 2012

The Topic of Conversation

"When words are many, sin is not absent, but he who holds his tongue is wise."
(Proverbs 10:19, NIV1984)

"A gossip goes around telling secrets, so don’t hang around with chatterers." (Proverbs 20:19, NLT)

"They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. They are gossips, slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful; they invent ways of doing evil; they disobey their parents; they have no understanding, no fidelity, no love, no mercy."
(Romans 1:29-31, NIV)

"We were just talking about you..."  Those are loaded words!  Our minds wander to what was being said behind our backs.  Were kind things being said or critical?  Being torn down piece by piece with the words of others in our absence is painful

When we are the topic of conversation and a child with special needs is involved, this takes the pain to a whole new level.   When family criticizes or analyzes us behind our backs, we are afforded no opportunity to dispel myths or correct inaccurate assumptions.  When friends disclose certain medical facts about our children when we're not present, our privacy is violated.  When gossip about us is thinly veiled as a group prayer request, we become exposed in upsetting ways.

What can be so disturbing is that we are often guilty of doing this to other parents just like us.  I had a circle of acquaintances where one man's HIV and Hepatitis C status were discussed.  To say that this is inappropriate is a complete understatement!  We, of all people, should know how desperately violating it is to have this sort of private information shared and discussed in our absence.  That goes for everything from personal finances, to marital health, to any specifics about illness that the immediate family has not publicly shared.  The world is hard enough on us without our circles of friends in the special needs community betraying us.

Today, resolve to building people up with your words.  Exercise the self-control that is available to us by the power of the Holy Spirit.  Practice in your mind or even in your mirror new ways that you will answer questions of others that might tempt you to share private information behind another parent's back.  Withhold your opinions when it is appropriate and accept that others may not choose to do things the same way you do.  That's okay.  Respect others.  Do not make them the topic of conversation in their absence and they will learn to afford you the same courtesy.

PRAY:  Lord, put your arm around my shoulder and your hand over my mouth!

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