This road of life is one built on twists and turns…never ending surprises and bumps along the way. There are days of smooth streets and then you turn a corner and the road appears unpaved and full of holes…rocky, unpredictable and difficult to navigate. For years I never considered the route I chose to take could have an effect on the type of road I ended up on. My responses, my words, my attitude, etc., all played a part in directing my path, yet it took me years to understand this (and I still get it wrong).
“Keep vigilant watch over your heart; that’s where life starts. Don’t talk out of both sides of your mouth; avoid careless banter, white lies, and gossip. Keep your eyes straight ahead; ignore all sideshow distractions. Watch your step, and the road will stretch out smooth before you. Look neither right nor left; leave evil in the dust.”
Proverbs 4:23-27 (MSG)
In our daily choices we can rewrite the course we take in riding out this journey. Gossip, white lies and careless banter, as The Message Bible puts it in Proverbs 4, is dishonoring and ungodly yet we can all so easily fall into it. Like most, I have seen and felt the hurt that is inflicted by gossip and dishonesty. When you’ve been hurt or seen others hurt by it, it changes you. But, it’s difficult! When people you love are hurt our first reaction is to project that hurt onto others by our words or actions, but it just never ever ends well….EVER! Someone ALWAYS gets hurt and the consequences take its toll on everyone involved.
Gossip and unnecessary drama will quickly cloud your ability to think clearly, make wise decisions and be a dependent source of encouragement and life to those around you. Not to mention, it robs you of respect from those around you, ruins relationships, steals your joy, breaks spirits and shatters your influence and integrity.
When you are serving others you will see more, hear more, know more and have to process more than you ever wanted to. You must guard your heart and your mouth. Like the story of Noah, when his two sons found him after displaying poor judgement, you too will have the opportunity to protect those around you when they fail (and they will…because we ALL do) or expose them. Choose to protect. I’m in no way encouraging the covering up of unethical or immoral behavior. If that is the situation you are facing, you must seek wisdom from a spiritual authority over you on how to respond. But, most likely it’s just a lapse in character or a decision you wouldn’t have made. In this case, choose to protect by not discussing it with anyone. Remember what you do or don’t say says more about you than those around you. Choose to live differently, speak differently and love differently as you walk out your purpose and calling.
Like Proverbs 4 tells us, keep your eyes straight ahead (fixed on God), ignore sideshow distractions (resist the temptation to get involved-stay neutral and keep your words encouraging), and watch your step (watch your words and actions). If you do this, the road will stretch out smooth before you. And you know as well as I do, you can move much quicker to your destiny on a smooth road rather than one full of holes and unpredictable terrain.