Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Don't let even one...

...rotten word seep out of your mouths.  Instead, offer only fresh words that build others up when they need it most.  Ephesians 4:29, The Voice

When I was in fifth or sixth grade, I remember having a conversation with my next door neighbor, one year older than me, about the practice of confession in the Catholic church.  The prospect of having to sit down with my pastor and confess my sin on a weekly basis was a terrifying thought to me, not any less than the thought that if we did that in our church, he'd also tell my parents and then I'd really be in trouble.  So I got an explanation, from a middle school perspective, that the priest couldn't tell anyone else what you said, and that my friend was always worried about whether or not he had confessed everything, in order to receive forgiveness for it.

It seemed easy to remember the big things.  It's the "little" sins that are hardest to remember.  But they're still around, and they are probably the most harmful and destructive.

You can evaluate your priorities by taking a look at your checkbook.  You can evaluate your tongue by looking at your facebook account and your text messages.  I told that to our students in chapel this morning, and there were some facial expressions and body language that said there was a measure of discomfort with that thought.  I challenged them to go back through their texts and communications with other people and find examples where their speech had lifted someone up in a time of need, and then compare that to the times when those messages represent put downs or gossip.  Well, I'll leave that thought with you.

Most of the issues between students that require some assistance in resolution are related to the information that has been passed along and the conversations that have occurred over relationships and social activity.
These occurrences are frequent, and they are a reflection of one of the most common failings among Christians when it comes to a problem with sin.  There's a correct expectation that gossip shouldn't be a major problem in a Christian school, and I'd agree with that, but it goes along with the expectation that we will fix the problem.  We might work on that, except that it comes from home.  If you think the students do not listen to what you say, about whom, how often, then you are living on a different planet.  The gossip that goes on among adults in a Christian school community, parents and staff, is why the students do not see any reason not to indulge in it themselves.  Some of the most common phrases in conversation about school are "well, other parents are telling me....", "the parents on that grade level are saying..." "you should hear what parents are saying about this..."

"...offer only fresh words that build up others when they need it most."