Remember in the musical Music Man when all the older women start chattering like a passel of hens? They were bent on telling the Music Man about the librarian. There was probably a little truth in what they said, but mostly it was their jealousies and need for gossip that spewed from their mouth. We laugh when we watch the scene.
Working in a retail environment since the introduction of cell phones, gossip has gone global. No longer just in the neighborhood (or church foyer), gossips have worldwide reach through cell phones, Facebook, Twitter and more. Careless chatter gone out worldwide never to be retrieved. I have blogged before about careless tongues (O Be Careful Little Mouth What You Say.) Words hurt, they scar and sometimes those scars ruin lives. It does not matter if you are talking behind someone’s back or to their face, words once out are never taken back. Like the toothpaste squeezed out, you cannot make it go back in the tube.
Working in retail you hear so much (you wish you did not have to hear) of people’s private lives as they wander around chatting on their phones. Conversations best kept private are spilled out over aisles. It seems people think they are in their own private phone booth and because no one is on the aisle with them, then no one can hear them. And of course their are those that think they have to shout their words across the phone for it to get to the other end of the line. People just like to talk. In specific they like to PICK-A-LITTLE, it makes them feel better about themselves to tear others down. Once started their TALK-A-LITTLE becomes talk-a-lot. The art of silence has gone. It is no wonder people do not “hear” what is being said any more. Their ears are in overload and you have to get their attention. Recently a father let a loud whistle in the store to get his kids to come. He looked at my stunned face as if to say “what?”. His kids don’t listen to their names or him talking, so he’s resorted to whistling for them like a dog. (Shaking my head).
Wouldn’t it be better to really PICK LITTLE to say, and TALK LITTLE, so that when you did speak others would want to hear what you say? Wouldn’t there be less hurt and less anger if people slowed down and chose their words carefully? Hmmm, that sounds like a verse from the Bible.
James 1:19 ESV “Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger;”
What Are You Telling Your World?
Once a week we try to go to the beach to enjoy peace and quiet and unwind a little. We choose a beach that is ‘smoke free’, has a life-guard (keeps the noise down of wild partying) and one that has great fishing and shelling. Yesterday when we arrived there were less than 1/2 dozen people on the beach. We settled in about 10 feet from shoreline for the view. The birds were singing, waves lapping and a nice gentle breeze had the trees whispering. That lasted maybe an hour before a woman settled in between us and the shore. I never have understood why when there is a whole couple of football fields of beach to choose from, people set right down on top of you. She not only was blocking the view, but she proceeded to light up (smoke free beach) which meant we had to ask her to put it out. The signs are everywhere, however, we are the bad guys? Then her friends showed up to give her some beers. They did not stay long so she was left with her beer and nothing to do with her hands but use the cell phone. She pulled out her cell phone and began to talk and drink her beer. The more she drank the louder she became. The beach had added a few more families by this time but, she did not mind her conversations or language around these small children. Her business became everyone’s as we had no choice but to listen to all her personal calls to her friends. I do not understand why people forget that when they are in public talking on their phone, others are listening, even if they do not want to. Her first call began with her congratulating her friend on being added to the list of ‘his exes’. Evidently children were involved because she continued to tell her to explain to them they were a ‘dysfunctional family’. The details she exposed us all to were unbelievable. She continued down her list of friends to call and went over a myriad of soap opera scenarios. This woman was probably in her late 50’s or early 60’s. You would think she would know better than to ‘air the dirty linen’ as our generation was supposedly taught. I am sure I will be accused of stereotyping, but you can just see this woman in her living room with her beers, cigarettes and tabloids while watching her soaps. All of these reference materials make her highly qualified to be handing out advice it seems.
There is a time and place to discuss situations and none of those involve strangers. Talk shows and yellow journalism have done away with any sense of discretion. They have coined phrases to use as crutches like “dysfunctional” and “ex”. The generation being raised in the shadows of all these public disclosures are being so conditioned and desensitized to sinful lives that they are not going to know sin when it slaps them. God says we are to guard our speech and our minds. (Colossians 3:2 “Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.”) As parents we need to teach our children as we raise them about guarding their minds and their speech so that when they are grown it will be automatic. We have become a world of gossiping and everyone believes they have the right to know each others business as well as share theirs. The Bible says in Matthew 12:35-37, 35 The good person out of his good treasure brings forth good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure brings forth evil. 36I tell you, on the day of judgment people will give account for every careless word they speak, 37for by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.”
What ‘business’ are you sharing?