Psalm 101:5 "Whoever slanders his neighbor in secret him will I put to silence; whoever has haughty eyes and a proud heart, him will I not endure."
This point on the checklist is a tough one because, at least for me, it hits too close to home. The first part of this verse is clearly speaking of gossip. Now forgive my perceived misogyny, but gossip amongst men is a world different from gossip amongst women. Women gossip about personal matters...weight, manners, how much money their husbands spend on them, how good or bad a cook they are etc. Men gossip to get ahead in life. Men gossip only when it will directly benefit them or their pursuits, otherwise we really don't care about anyone else. Two guys criticizing another guy in a bar...because they think he might end up with the prettiest women. Two guys gossiping about a ballplayer...they want him to fail so they can move up on the depth chart. Hear a guy gossiping at the office? He wants the other guys job. Gossip about the preacher...the preacher said something that pricked the attackers conscience. Women will gossip to gossip...men gossip to draw blood.
I cannot permit this kind of destructive talk in my home. Because it teaches my daughter that I will attack someone personally if they have what I want. It shows my petty jealousy and it shows that I have no respect for other human beings.
If I have an issue with a co worker I need to be a resolver of situations, not a gasoline pour-er. If I disagree with the pastor I need to talk to him and see if I really understood him or was I hearing what I wanted to hear? If I disagree with him...I need to leave, not destroy him and see what happens next. I was witness to this at the last church I belonged to back home. My beloved pastor Paul Walters was attacked in a very non Christlike fashion. People get tired of what they know and have, they shun the familiar every day. Pastor Walters served that body of believers for years and it cost him a lot personally. A split developed over something asinine..as most splits do...and he resigned. I was already in Nashville when this happened and it broke my heart that I wasn't there to stand in his defense. I have visited that church since, and it has changed for the worse.
People could have prayed, they could have talked in a non aggressive fashion, but instead they decided they knew better than God and they wound up with what they deserved. Half the members left for various churches and the other half stayed and lost something very special indeed.
I cannot let my daughter see that sort of behavior, for a litany of reasons. Mostly because I don't want to set the tone for what she may perceive is my general attitude towards those who don't live up to my standards. (as if they matter) Will she be the next to get a dose of the acid tongue if she let's me down somehow? (In some way that really doesn't matter)
Notice that the verse doesn't say not to have an opinion..it says not to talk about it in secret. Grounded, constructive criticism is just that...constructive. Whispered attacks are petty and harmful. A man of integrity doesn't skulk around talking badly about others behind their back. He is a lovingly confronting friend who truly wants that person to be their best...and he is willing to find out if his view was correct. Maybe there was something about the story he didn't grasp.
I will not abide arrogant or boastful people in my advisory council. I can't have them influence me because I can easily begin to buy into it and feed my own pride. If I am influenced by humble men, my own ample pride is sequestered and I will begin to walk in humility. The greatest men I've known were confidently humble...a delicate balance indeed, and one our kids could be well served to see.
"Father, set a watch before my lips. Watch over my heart and keep me from gossip and verbal aggression. Watch over my heart and keep me from pride. Like Paul...may my boast only be in you."