The loudspeaker of the heart
“It’s so rotten, gossip. At the beginning, it seems to be something enjoyable and fun, like a piece of candy. But at the end, it fills the heart with bitterness and also poisons us”.
These strong words come from the mouth of Pope Francis. And yet gossip and loose talk about others fills the mouths of many people, even Christians.
Verbal pollution and damaging speech which includes gossip, slander, destructive criticism and angry words are a plague wherever a group of people come together at work, amongst friends, in families and in groups.
Jesus tells us very clearly that ‘out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks’ (Matt 12:24). In other words, if the eyes are the windows of our soul, the tongue is the loudspeaker of the heart.
The way out is to recognise this for the evil that it is and to learn how to control oneself with the grace God gives us. It requires forgiving those who have hurt us and being renewed in the way we have been brought up to think and react, taking the Word of God seriously:
‘If anyone considers himself religious and yet does not keep a tight rein on his tongue, he deceives himself and his religion is worthless. James 1:26.
God’s Word also tells us ‘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. Eph. 4:29. If that becomes a ‘vision statement’ for our lives as Pope Francis said: “I am convinced that if each one of us would purposely avoid gossip, at the end, we would become a saint! It’s a beautiful path!”