"What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he loses one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness, and go after the one which is lost, until he finds it? And when he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing. And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and neighbors, saying to them, 'Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep which was lost!'"
August 25, 2010
My sister and brother-in-law are guardians of an 8-year old deaf boy. Recently, both my brother-in-law and Jon were out of town the same week. My sister was getting ready to go back to work, and I had been doing some painting and mowing. Only excuses, but we both thought we deserved to be pampered, so decided to get pedicures. Devin had to go with us. He took his gameboy to play with while we were getting our feet all prettied up. He got restless and bored, but overall did pretty well. When we were finishing up and getting ready to leave Devin told my sister, "I waited patient, patient, patient all day while you and Loretta were here." (In sign language, repeating a word is similar to "very, very.") We were probably there 45 minutes, not quite all day! But to him, I'm sure it seemed much longer.
Several years ago I had a friend that I hung out with at times. There were different times when we'd go somewhere or do something, and later I'd overhear her telling someone about it. But instead of saying that we'd done it that one time, she'd say, "We do this all the time." I remember thinking, "Wow! I only remember us doing it that one time!"
Many years ago I babysat a couple of kids one weekend while their parents were out of town. I can only recollect keeping them that one time. But many years later their mom told me that I was always her kids favorite babysitter and she really appreciated all the times I'd kept them. Maybe the weekend just seemed extra long with the parents being gone and seemed like I'd kept them several times. I honestly cannot recall ever keeping them except that once.
What does these three stories have in common? Exaggeration of the facts! Did Devin wait while we were getting the pedicures? Yes. Patient, patient, patient all day long? No! Maybe patient for less than one hour. Did my friend and I do what she told others? Yes. All the time? No! Just the one time. Did I babysit the kids one time and their parents appreciated it? Yes. Was I a regular babysitter for them? No!
Why do people feel the need to exaggerate the truth? I can understand an 8-year old exaggerating something, but not so much adults. Do they embellish in order to try and make themselves sound better or to make a situation sound more exciting than it really was? Possibly at times. But what about all the other times when what they exaggeration really has no bearing on anything? It was only a common everyday occurrence that was pretty mundane and boring. Perhaps it eventually becomes a habit. Or perhaps they feel as if no one will listen or pay attention to them unless they embellish the truth.
At other times, people tend to exaggerate facts in order to make a situation sound as bad as possible. It seems as if they enjoy being the bearer of bad news, so they'll take an actual event that occurred, then will put their spin on it in order to make it sound as dire as possible. They have the tendency to be negative already, so any story they tell tends to always be told with a gloomy undertone to it.
I worked with a lady at one time who loved being the one to "share" news. We had to be careful and watch what we said around her; especially if it was something that she felt was secretive. Perhaps it was a change going on within the bank that the officers wanted to share with the employees before it going public. As soon as the meeting was over, she'd get on the phone and call someone from our branch banks and whisper the news to another employee before an officer could get there to talk with them. Or if something personal was happening with another employee; whether it be a pregnancy, sickness, death, divorce or whatever; she would want to tell someone as soon as she found out. Instead of letting the news come from the proper source, she enjoyed being the one to "share" any news; both good and bad.
Those type of people tend to irritate me. When they have a reputation of doing this, it makes me not have a lot of confidence in them. It makes them seem untrustworthy. If they are so anxious to share news with others, how do I know that I can trust them to keep silent if I were to confide something private and confidential with them? They're not individuals that I would choose as my best friend.
Growing up, I heard the expression regarding someone who was known as a gossip: "Telegraph, telephone, or tell [insert name]." Of course, most people would never admit to enjoying spreading or listening to gossip! But the truth is, most of us do enjoy it.
It's kind of a running joke between me and my sisters when one of us goes back to where we grew up for a weekend or vacation. When we next talk or email we'll ask, "So what gossip did you learn when you were there?" Or else if we're the one who went and found out some news item we'll call one of our sisters and say, "I thought I'd just tell you what gossip I found out." Most of it is general family or friend related news; or a rundown on who we saw and talked to. We're not tearing other people down or saying things to bring hurt or harm to them.
There is a lady who used to love when people confided personal information with her. The thing is, she was a good listener and easy to talk to. But then she would always tell others what she'd been told. Several years ago, I was in a supermarket and she saw me. She started whispering and telling me what another lady had confided to her. I admit that I was guilty of standing there and listening to her, but at the time, I remember thinking that if the woman knew she was "sharing" with me, she would be so embarrassed and humiliated. It would have really hurt her. Of course this information was being shared with me as a prayer request!
Isn't amazing how Christians can often spiritualize our words or actions?! We know gossip is wrong so we "share" about others "as a matter of prayer". Or else we will justify it that we're not really talking about them, we're just ........
Do we really realize how our words affect others? Whether it's an exaggeration or through gossip, others judge us by what they hear coming out of our mouth. Our words give them a glimpse of what's in our heart. It allows them to know us and whether or not we're truly trustworthy. How much respect someone has for us also tends to be hinged upon our conversation.
Matthew 15:11 states, "Not what goes into the mouth defies a man, but what comes out of the mouth, that defiles a man."
To defile means to soil, sully, mar, impair, taint, tarnish; but also to destroy or ruin. The words that come out of our mouth can cause a lot of damage. We can't always control what we hear, but we can control what comes out of our mouth. As this verse says, it's not what goes in, but what comes out, that can defile a person.
There's a song I sang as a kid that says, "Oh be careful little mouth what you say... be careful little mouth what you say... theres'a a Father up above looking down in tender love... oh be careful little mouth what you say."
Perhaps that needs to be our daily prayer. Are we guilty of exaggeration and gossiping? Then it's time to ask forgiveness and make a change. Ask for God to help you be aware of your words and to say only those things that will build up, not break down.
My prayer is from Psalm 19:14, "Let the words or my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Your sight, O Lord, my strength and Redeemer."
We all have some juicy news that really needs to be spread. It's often just referred to as 'The Gospel' in The Bible. I'm sure everyone reading already knows it: Jesus was killed to pay for our sins, and he was raised on the third day.
In our culture, it's hard to think of it as gossip that we're the first ones to tell someone. Most of the time, I feel like everyone around already knows. Telling them about Jesus would feel a lot like telling them that President Kennedy was shot.
But the truth is, all too many people don't know. They may have heard it, but don't really know it. They don't understand why it's such great news. Or they simply don't believe it.
Which man was known for being hairy?
Who was most known for being a doubter?
Who was known as a reckless driver?
Who was known for being wise?
Which king was most known for being tall?
1 cup butter
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
1 cup chopped pecans or black walnuts
1 tsp. vanilla
1 cup sifted flour
Cream butter; gradually add powdered sugar and salt and continue creaming until light and fluffy. Add nuts and vanilla. Blend in flour gradually. Mix thoroughly and shape into balls, using 1 tsp. for each one. Place on ungreased baking sheet. Bake at 325 for 15-20 minutes. Do not brown. Cool slightly. Roll cookies in additional powdered sugar.
Esau (Genesis 25:25 & 27:11)
Thomas (John 20:25)
Jehu (2 Kings 9:20)
Solomon (1 Kings 3:10-13)
Saul (1 Samuel 9:2)
Whoever hides hatred has lying lips. And whoever spreads slander is a fool. Proverbs 10:18
I've probably written a thousand times: "Don't Exaggerate!"
We love you!
Loretta & Jon