I remember back in college I had befriended a gal who had her small planes license. She would fly in and out of our nearby airport on a regular basis. One weekend, she said I could bring two of my gal pals to join her for an expeditious flight from Southern California to Santa Barbara. We would have dinner there and fly back afterwards. So we took her up on it! It was amazing to take off and feel the freedom to fly into a beautiful sunset, enjoying the ride and the glowing orange sky.
Once we got to a steady glide, she announced for me to “take the reigns”, so to speak, to control the plane and fly it. Both sides had a wheel, so I felt pretty calm.
I remember holding onto the “yoke,” which looks like a stick with a steering wheel growing out of it. She elucidated an impressive piece, the rudder that controlled the steering so tightly! I learned that to go right you have to push the adverse pedal for the rudder to keep the turn balanced right, and, of course, the opposite direction would require the same.
I don’t feel I’m a coordinated person, so with all of these impacting tensions, you can understand that it didn’t come to any kind of natural! Among those keys of aeronautics, she voiced that to go up, you have to pull up on the yoke. And of course, if you want to head down, you have to push in to fly down. I barely pushed the wheel, and the plane would dive down. One slight push or pull drastically affected the whole aircraft. If I had flown it alone, I would have surely flown it to our death!
Those who have logged in many hours in pilot training have the skill to overcome what doesn’t feel natural and are able to fly the aircraft smoothly to their destination. That’s what practice does. That’s how people become experts.
In the book of James, the Apostle mentions that although ships, for instance, are so large and can be driven by such strong winds, a tiny rudder is capable to steer it wherever the pilot wants it to go.
“Likewise, the tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts. Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark" (James 3:5).
This small member can set the whole course of one’s life on fire. It can bring us death or life. “The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit” (Proverbs 18:21).
"Gossip" can be a cloudy and complex word, but let’s make it clear. It means to indulge in inactive talk, especially about the private affairs of others. Looking deeper, "indulge" means to yield oneself to a desire. It’s as if you are walking along, stop, bow down and listen. There is a choice there.
The word "gossip" is also derived from the idea of “whispering.” I remember going to church as a little girl. While our parents were busy in choir practice, all of the kids would hang out in the church lobby. We would roam through the church and find things to do. I remember an instance in which one of the pastor’s kids, whom I looked up to, changed my outlook. I remember her leaning over to whisper something in her friend’s ear. She turned to look at me and said, “Could you hear that?” I said, “No,” so she leaned over even closer and whispered even more quietly.
I was probably six, and I STILL REMEMBER how it made me feel…I’m sure some of you have had those same experiences, fully discerning that it's hurtful. Gossip often thrives upon secrecy.
Where secrecy is removed, gossip is hindered.
We are all capable of being found guilty; the human heart is a fountain of corruption! Jesus said, "For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, fornication, theft, false witness, slander"(Matthew 15:19)
God, help our hearts to become more like you! If this is a regular practice for you, here are a few things that will help.
The first is to hand over this inability to Jesus. Repent.
“The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For out of the overflow of his heart the mouth speaks” (Luke 6:45).
Learn to be a good steward with your words, God will entrust you with the Word of God and in giving it to others, “For the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked” (Luke 12). As Pastor Chuck and Kay have said in the past, “If you come to the crossroads of asking yourself, ‘Is this right or wrong?’ Better yet, ask yourself: ‘Does this please God?’”
Remember that you have the best pilot.
He has given us His word to renew our spirits on a daily practice. I often have asked young ladies this question, after they tell me of the emotional turmoil they are currently experiencing: “How’s your quiet time going?” That is usually why “the gas is on empty” light goes on, and they are unable to find their bearings.
Secondly, encourage others!
With God’s presence in us, we can overflow with His good words and joy! Choose Words of Life! “Do not withhold good from those who deserve it, when it is in your power to act” (Proverbs 3:27).
Just like the steering of the small plane, the unfamiliarity will soon feel possible. In His Spirit, we are able.
And lastly, “Guard the good treasure entrusted to you, with the help of the Holy Spirit who dwells in us” (2 Timothy 1:14).