If you're anything like me, taming your tongue isn't the easiest thing you've ever done. Sometimes, you just want to say exactly what is on your mind so whoever it is that you're talking to can hear your 2 cents about life. Now, don't get me wrong, I don't just blurt out everything I think; I have a filter, but that filter lets more and more through the more frustrated or upset I get. This is probably my biggest downfall, to be honest.
I remember when I was, oh, probably 10 years old or so, I wanted this thing my brother was playing with so I begged and begged. He kept saying no so, what did I do as the annoying little sister? I ran and told mom. Well, mom told me that it was his birthday present so I didn't get to play with it, he got to play with it as long as he wanted to. I didn't like this answer. I immediately ran back out to where my brother was and told him that mom said I could play with his toy and he had to give it up. Before I could say anymore, mom yelled out the window and said I was lying and Ryan could play with his toy as long as he wanted. Well, that was embarrassing. I had just gotten caught for blatantly lying to my brother right after my mom had just told me no.
I can honestly say I learned my lesson with that one. As 10 year-olds, we lied to get our way. As adults, we, hopefully, have stopped the lying, but somewhere along the way, we learned to gossip. Lying and gossiping are the same level of bad. With one, you're not telling the truth about a situation and, for the other, you're passing along info about another person that could be harmful and also untrue. I think the hardest time for me not to gossip is when something doesn't go my way or someone makes me upset. I want to tell a friend or a family member what that person did to hurt me or make my life miserable (I know I'm not the only one who exaggerates when they're upset...). It's frustrating and instead of calling it gossip, we call it venting (you know I'm right). But, when did venting become okay? When did it become okay to gossip about someone but call it something different so friends will listen? It shouldn't be okay. I'm not saying we can't vent. My solution about venting is to keep the details minimum and the names out of it. If you give a detail that makes everyone listening know exactly who you're talking about, you failed (just being honest :)).
Hear me out with this, I'm not saying you're a failure and I'm not saying this is easy. I don't want to post this blog because the second I do, I just set a higher standard for myself and to be honest, I know I don't always hit that standard. And I don't always want to. Sinning feels good sometimes (getting it off your chest about your bosses terrible management skills can definitely feel good at times), but we need to remember that God has set a higher standard for us. Do we really want to be known as a complainer as a Christian? I hope not. James tells us to tame our tongue. I hope you're taking this to heart. As Christians, and even non-Christians--as human beings--we need to set higher standards for ourselves. Think how much more uplifting and encouraging our conversations were if they were less about gossip and venting and more about love, passion, and uplifting one another. That's definitely a conversation I want to be a part of.
So my challenge to you is to remember this verse in James that I quoted at the top. Take a look at all of James chapters 1 through 3 and see what he talks about in there. We are to tame the tongue and be an uplifting and encouraging group of people. It's not the desire that is the sin, it's acting upon that desire and making the desire come to life. Kill the desire to talk bad about people behind their backs and start being the person who encourages. For one thing, you will have a better outlook on life and, for another, more people will want to be around you as you stop complaining and start seeing the silver lining in everything.
Don't get me wrong. Life sucks sometimes and it is not always fun, but that doesn't mean that we get to complain and mope around all the time. It means that we have an opportunity to show people that we can shine no matter what life throws our way. Whether it be cancer, bankruptcy, a loss of a family member, a missed job opportunity, or whatever, I want you to remember that life is but a blink of the eye. Cherish all that happens and all those around you because sooner than you think, it will all pass away. Go out there. Change your attitude. And change the world.