A question by email:
I was involved in a discussion today while in the presence of three christian ladies, hardworking and dependable. A question was asked, and it was obvious that it was headed in the direction of gossip, at which time I ended the discussion.
On the way home it occurred to me that these ladies are probably not even aware of the gossip in which they engage and the damage that it can do to themselves and others when they discuss others and matters that have no reason to be discussed with others.
I’m having a little trouble trying to organize something that I could write in a bulletin article or even a sermon that I would preach on the matter.
Do you have something in either area that would assist me in this important matter of teaching?
What might be helpful is to set a time to talk with the ladies about your concerns.
Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do” (Luke 23:34). People sin (miss the mark) because they do not know what they are doing.
I don’t know why they are doing what they are doing. I like to try to find out what they are doing and why they are doing what they are doing. Since I don’t know and they don’t know, it is possible that while I am finding out what they are doing, they may discover what they are doing and start doing differently.
I like to prepare myself to ask questions to clarify in my mind what is happening rather than telling them. Many times people discover for themselves that their actions are not in agreement with the principles they believe and teach. Many good people get involved in things that others can see are definitely wrong. But people (we) have the capacity to deceive themselves (ourselves) (1 John 1:8, 10). David committed adultery with Bathsheba and had her husband murdered. However, it was at least nine months before Nathan confronted him (2 Samuel 11:26-12:7). He didn’t see himself in the sheep-stealing story until Nathan said, “I’m talking about you!”
These are three good Christian ladies. They may well be doing something they do not realize. A good conversation from a loving, concerned shepherd could be a help to them. I find that often people I preach to don’t get the message. David would probably not have responded and would have wondered why the sheep-stealer didn’t respond if Nathan had preached the message to a Sabbath assembly.