While shopping in Goodwill, my family and I were enjoying the sales and scavenging for the best deals of the day. In the midst of our treasure hunt, we witnessed a take down. First a woman flew through the store and hid in the changing rooms. Not two minutes later a big burly bouncer looking fellow charged in looking for the woman. Not sure of what was going on, quickly the store separated into halves and the people began to watch from a distance. Of course my siblings and I gathered our things and hastened our way towards the exit, taking in the site. The security officer looking large man informed the store owner he was picking the woman up and showed his credentials. The store owner handed over the keys and he unlocked the changing room doors. Of course, it did not end there. The woman took off and even though the man was able to arrest her, she put up a fight with healed shoes and all fighting back. That day was eventful for a quiet, hometown Goodwill store. And honestly, for a few weeks I though being a bounty hunter would be pretty awesome! The story does not end there though.
Have you ever noticed good news does not spread as quickly as bad? Recently, I encountered an example of this. When something happens in class, in a store or at church, it draws attention. Now the attention might be concern, love, compassion, but also naysayers and gossipers. I was reminded of James 3:1-6:
“My brethren, be not many masters, knowing that we shall receive the greater condemnation. For in many things we offend all. If any man offend not in word, the same is a perfect man, and able also to bridle the whole body. Behold, we put bits in the horses’ mouths, that they may obey us; and we turn about their whole body. Behold also the ships, which though they be so great, and are driven of fierce winds, yet are they turned about with a very small helm, whithersoever the governor listeth. Even so the tongue is a little member, and boasteth great things. Behold, how great a matter a little fire kindleth! And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity: so is the tongue among our members, that it defileth the whole body, and setteth on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire of hell.”
When people tell “exciting” stories or gossip, it is just like that spark and how it starts that fire. When we go camping, we will put dry pine needles on top to get the fire really rolling. That is often what “bad news” is, some fuel for a fire. If we are not careful the fire can get out of hand, and destroy things. ( Just like gossip.) Be honest, have you ever started a fire? Even when we light a candle, we carefully tip the candle to not burn ourselves when we lite it. But, are we always that careful when we speak? Have you ever been the topic of someone else’s gossip? Hopefully, you have not been a subject in life- changing gossip. But if you have, you know it hurts. Gossip hurts everyone! Often we do not realize how much one small part of our body (Our Tongues) can harm or help someone. I love the verse:
“Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.” Philippians 4:8
Shamefully, we can all see or recall a time when we said something or repeated something we did not need to. In memorizing this verse, it makes it so simple to remind ourselves to not say things unless they are true, honest, just, pure, lovely AND of a good report. These are the things the LORD wants us to think about! And although the news, internet and even people are flooded with negativity and depressing news; we do NOT have to support it. In fact, if we choose to fill our minds with things that are pure, honest, true, lovely and of a good report- we WILL see change in our own lives AND hopefully pour over into the lives of those around us!
As far as the bounty hunter and feisty lady, it is amazing to know first hand what we saw and the stories that stemmed, festered and blemished so quickly. And although the individual had to face her consequences, her pursuer was just doing his job and did it respectfully. You can imagine the stories that stemmed from such a situation. Well, UNLESS you have already decided not to think on these things like Philippians 4:8 states! Be the light others need to see. Have a great week!