Guard Your Heart (Part II)


Our hearts can get polluted even in the normal course of life while we are having casual conversations. Sometimes the pollution is subtle and sometimes it is not. However, if we place proper boundaries in our conversations, they will help guard our hearts from being affected negatively by others.

A fool’s lips enter into contention,
And his mouth calls for blows.
A fool’s mouth is his destruction,
And his lips are the snare of his soul.
The words of a talebearer are like tasty trifles,
And they go down into the inmost body. Proverbs 8:6-8

One of the important ways that we need to guard our hearts is not letting those we love to affect our hearts with gossip. It seems like the closer we get to people, the easier it is for people to open up, which eventually may turn into gossip.. While they may do it in the name of sharing their hearts, in reality, their words can poison us. They go down the inmost body affecting our hearts.

We will be faced with those challenging situations even more so if we have a heart to minister to others. One of the ways we can guard our hearts is to be clear in what capacity we are relating to the person who is sharing. If we are just having a causal friendly conversation, we need to remain vigilant in diverting a conversation that turns into gossip. When the person’s issue is someone else, we should encourage them to talk to that person and resolve it between the two of them (Matthew 18:15-16).  Whether the situation is resolved or not, they should not take the matter into their own hands and give themselves the permission to talk to others about it. Getting other people involved is outside of the boundary of what the scripture prescribes, and it pollutes the body of Christ and poisons the hearts of people.

This gets more complicated when the person shares something, but they ask you to keep it to yourself. Then you are not allowed to find a resolution or clarity to the problem. Don’t accept that kind of request because it is about your heart condition and what you need to do to guard it. You are not a dumping ground for someone else.

People are very interested in hearing what others think of them, so when a talebearer comes with some information about them, they are willing to consume it. It doesn’t matter that it can anger their hearts; people want to know. However, that is not wisdom. One time, a talebearer told me what someone else said about me. I told her that I would call up the person and have a conversation about it. The talebearer started back-pedaling, and she got worried and anxious about it. We assume talebearers have the right motive, but regardless of their motive the end result is not good for everyone involved. The Lord knows how to reveal things to us without having to put ourselves in those situations. We decide how much room we give people in our lives to be talebearers. While they may seem like tasty trifles, ultimately, they pollute our hearts and our relationships with others.

The first one to plead his cause seems right,
Until his neighbor comes and examines him. Proverbs 18:17

If we are listening to someone in a ministry capacity, as ministers of reconciliation, our goal should be not to take sides. The above scripture tells us not to believe everything we hear because we have a limited information. What the person shares can be challenged by someone who is knowledgable about the situation, but we may not be that person. So when we hear something, we must listen to it and acknowledge that we do not know the full story. We are only hearing one person’s perspective on the situation. Our goal is to support and encourage peace in every relationship. Again, we should encourage people to muster up the courage to go directly to the person and have a conversation. I would encourage you to place a time frame around it. Otherwise, you can find yourself weeks or months later still talking about the same unresolved issue.

How you been affected by others’ gossip? Are you vigilant in guarding your hearts from gossip and talebearers? Are you willing to do the hard work of addressing issues directly rather than allowing someone else’s frustration or hurt to pollute your heart? Do you help people seek peace and reconciliation in their relationships?

Image by Ramadhan Notonegoro from Pixabay


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