Thursday, August 05, 2010

There was an old woman

I know an elderly woman who loves a good story. And by that I mean she loves a good story about bad things in the lives of others. She was excited to tell us about a woman whose minister husband left her for another woman. She was downright scandalized sharing about a young man who married someone of another race and even included the tidbit that she bet the young lady was a mail order bride and his parents didn't know a thing about it. And a nephew who was a wild child in high school? He's now nearing 50 but she can tell his children are as wild as he ever was and she bets his daughters will end up pregnant or his son will drive drunk and don't we think he might be an alcoholic?
If there are no stories to report, she starts an investigation of her own. "What's going on at ___________church? It seems like something's fishy." How is ____________'s marriage, doesn't it seem like they are having some problems." "Do you think_________is pregnant?"
It's exhausting, really, to be on the receiving end of these conversations. I try to nip it in the bud, steer her away, put a positive spin or just say it's really none of my business. But still, exhausting. And boring. BORING.
But there is something even worse about this gossipy old woman. She is a Christian. You think I'm going to say Christians shouldn't gossip, and you are right, they shouldn't. But that's not the worst of it. The worst of it is that I will never go to this woman for prayer or counsel. I will never look upon her life as a mentor. I will not learn lessons from her, save the lesson of what not to be. I will not share my heart with her in the pursuit of wisdom. As a woman of God she has rendered herself almost useless. She cannot be the hands, feet or heart of Christ because she isn't to be trusted. Even those who are not offended by her gossip don't expose their lives to her. She is so utterly distasteful in her disregard of the pain and destruction in the lives of others that I don't even share prayer requests with her.
Oh, she says, "Isn't it just awful?" and "I just feel so bad for them." and "I never would've imagined." and "We just need to pray for them."
But shouldn't the awful, bad situations that call you to intercession birth a heart of compassion? And wouldn't a heart of compassion protect and guard the vulnerable?
Something surprising and wonderful has happened to me over the last five or so years. I've stopped needing to be young and beautiful. I'm comfortable with the fine lines and gray hair that indicate how much of my life is behind me. Lessons and hard times earned me the signs of age. I am ready to now be the voice of Jesus for the young women who are just entering into those young, beautiful and difficult years. It would break my heart to think that someone wouldn't trust me, couldn't look upon me as a mentor, because of my behavior.
Seventy years old and a Christian since childhood, and yet, not a sister in Christ to me. Not someone who can be entrusted with the troubles of others. Not someone who will ever have the privilege of my hurts being shared with her. I am guarded and careful.
Dear God, let me learn from this woman and be careful. Let me be a woman who can be trusted. Let me never snicker and gossip about the pain in the lives of others. May I see all of mankind through your eyes and give me a heart that will break like yours when satan raises a hand against any person. Let me never become someone of whom it is said, "Don't tell her....." Let me be a sister who is known as a burden bearer, not a story sharer.


Amrita said...

Yesterday a pastor 'e wife told me that she had toppe d her second year Bachelor of Theology class. I congratulated her on studyong so hard etc.

A few minutes later I mentione d the opurtunity her class mates are getting to witness at the local jail on Aug. 15th (our Independence Day). She just shrugged and said; " Oh its not compulsary to go. Anyway I wouldn 't like to spend time with criminals and outlaws".
I immdeately chided her and saidl it was a good chance to sow Gospel seeds, who knows whose heart God might be touched. Her husband who was listening to our conversation agreed with me.

Theology is just head knowledge for many- nothing in real life. I was very sad and disapointed and almost wanted to take back my congratulations. If I were snide I 'd say Congratulations for letting God down sister.

I know some men and women like the lady you mention.Some are so-called Christian leaders and I cna' t relate to them spiritually.They have given me ungodly advice which I have rejected.

Good post Sara

Amrita said...

Sorry for the typos.

Patty H. said...

Good post! So many camoflauge gossip with prayer request.
Patty H.

Jada's Gigi said...

what truth you have spoken here! May I too be a woman of God who can be trusted!

Debra said...

Amen amen amen amen amen.

And did I mention amen?:) Blessings, Debra

donna said...

It is unfortunate the number of women who won't allow themselves to truly trust others. I know many who have attempted to step out of their comfort zones only to be betrayed over and over again.