MANAGING MY HEART AND ACTIONS
“Have you heard? Julie Lynn’s husband won’t let her talk in church…that’s why she’s so quiet.”
It was one of the most ridiculous pieces of gossip I’d ever heard about myself…can you relate? As pastor’s wives, we are often misunderstood because there are so many confidential things we carry close to our hearts in the work of ministry. Sometimes misconceptions about us can disintegrate down as far as the curb… into gossip. How do we approach this in our hearts and minds in a way that curtails the bitterness that can too often result from being the target of gossip? And how can we use our position of influence to help His people become more like Him by how we handle it?
Here’s 2 things to keep in mind with gossip (whether it is about you or someone else)
1. Gossip is spiritual warfare at play. The enemy often uses our weaknesses as a target for attack. And for many of us, insecurity moves us to engage in gossip. So whether it is about us or… (if we’re being really honest) has originated from us in our weak moments..gossip is an enemy tactic to divide the flock. Unfortunately, we’ve all seen this tactic work way too many times. So, be wise. See through the scheme. Put out the fires instead of spreading them in any way. With complete reliance on the Holy Spirit for guidance, your battle tactic might mean confronting gossip and or in some cases saying nothing to help extinguish the fire before it destroys anything else. Seeing gossip through this lens helps you distinguish who your real enemy is. (It’s actually not the church ladies.)
Here are some questions I use to catch myself:
Before I ask a question: Am I trying to dig for information that isn’t my business?
Before I add my $.02 in a conversation: Am I wanting to contribute so that people will respect me as “someone in the know”?
When I sense a conversation traipsing into talking about someone else: Am I going to contribute to hurt that is eroding the work of God in our Body – just by listening? Is it because I’m afraid to correct them because of what they’ll think of me?
2. Flip the script. What can you do right away… this week… to foster a culture of encouragement?
Ephesians 4:29, “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up, according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.”
What are you doing every week to build others up? It can start with just a few simple texts that start with:
- “Wow I am thankful that you…”
- “I am praying this for you…”
- “I don’t take it for granted that you…”
The Power of Encouragement
Did you know encouragement has the potential to be even more contagious than gossip? Outsmart your enemy with this. One of the pastor’s wives in one of our cohorts this year noted that she makes a special effort to text some of the staff on Sunday mornings to let them know they are being prayed for. Do you know the power this has to bind people together instead of splitting them apart? SO WISE!
Never underestimate the power of your influence. You may not have a position of authority but you have immense influence on the people God has brought into the Body you and your husband have been entrusted to shepherd. This week, make a point to intentionally use that influence in a way that promotes health and unity. To God be the Glory.