ARE YOU CONFIDING IN A MEGAPHONE?

by Dr. MaryAnn Diorio

“Guard your heart above all else, for it determines 
the course of your life.” ~ Proverbs 4:23

“Matters of the Heart” is a weekly blog that deals with the deepest issues of the human heart, the issues we all face but sometimes don’t want to talk about. The heart is the programming center of our lives. What is programmed into our heart will affect every area of our lives. Learn how to examine your heart and how to program your heart for success.

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Recently, my husband and I were discussing the topic of confidentiality and our experiences with people whom we thought we could trust but who turned out to be untrustworthy. Sad to say–in my experience, at least–I’ve dealt with people who have betrayed a confidence and broadcast it in repeated episodes of gossip. My husband brilliantly called the practice of confiding in a gossip “confiding in a megaphone.”  Hence, the title of this blog post.

Scripture is replete with verses on the seriousness of gossip. Here are some of them:

___Exodus 23: 1 – “You must not pass along false rumors.

___James 4: 11 – “…do not slander one another.”

___Proverbs 11: 13 – “A gossip betrays a confidence, but a trustworthy person keeps a secret.”

___Proverbs 16: 28 – “…a gossip separates close friends.”

___Proverbs 20: 19 – “A gossip betrays a confidence; so avoid anyone who talks too much.”

To gossip is to steal the good reputation of another. It is a form of murder and has wide-range ramifications. Perhaps you’ve heard the Jewish story called “The Tale of the Feathers.” If not, you can find it here.  It is a stunning example of the damage that gossip can do.

The next time you are tempted to gossip, ask yourself how you would feel if someone were to gossip about you. Decide today that you will not be a megaphone. Instead, you will be a true and trustworthy friend.

My Prayer for You Today: Lord Jesus, I ask that You would give my brother and sister discernment to know in whom they should confide and in whom they should not. I also ask that you would help us all to remember that trust is the foundation of friendship and that once trust is broken, it is virtually impossible to re-establish. So, make us trustworthy people who will keep a confidence when asked to do so. In Your precious Name I pray. Amen.

Now, it’s YOUR turn: Have you ever been betrayed by a gossip? If so, how did you handle the betrayal? Please share your insights in the Comments box below. Thank you!

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The Compromising Heart

Why Compromise Will Hurt Your Heart

“Guard your heart above all else, for it determines
the course of your life.” ~ Proverbs 4:23
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Compromise. We normally think of it as a good thing. For example, when facing a decision that involves both spouses in a marriage, we consider how that decision will affect each person in the relationship. We work toward a “win-win” situation. We compromise.

 Casual man looking at doodle drawing of angel and devil fighting. Concept of conscience; decisions, uncertainty, moral dilemma; fight of good and evil.

When struggling to find a solution for a workplace conflict, we strive to find one that benefits all parties involved. We discuss, weigh the pros and cons, and determine what is best for the group as a whole. We compromise.

When our child’s bedtime is 8:00 but he wants to stay up until 9:00, we allow him to stay up until 8:30pm. To show our goodwill as a parent, we compromise.

But compromise can be a liability when it comes to deciding between right and wrong. For instance, you may be tempted to “borrow” a few paper clips from work for your personal use at home.  You do so, compromising your moral integrity while rationalizing that it’s only a few paperclips. Your company won’t cave financially if you take them.

But you will cave spiritually.

Why? Because you compromised. And your heart knows it!

You see, God made us with an inner knowing regarding what is right and what is wrong.  This knowing is sometimes called natural law.

Several years ago, I heard a missionary give a talk about the remote tribe to which God sent her to preach the Gospel. The tribe had never heard of Jesus Christ. They had never heard of the Bible. They had never heard of the Ten Commandments. Yet, when the missionary asked them to tell her about their culture, they said things like the following:  We do not steal from one another. We do not lie to one another. We do not kill one another.

How did this remote tribe of people know that such actions were wrong? Simple. The law of God was written on their hearts.

As much as we may try to deny it, in the depths of our hearts we know what is right and what is wrong. We know it is wrong to steal. We know it is wrong to lie. We know it is wrong to murder.

You may say, “I don’t steal; I don’t lie; I don’t murder.”  But do you tell “a little white lie”?  Do you take a few paper clips from work because, after all, it won’t make a difference?  Do you gossip about your neighbor? Gossip is a form of murder, you know.

So, why do we compromise? I think there is one main reason: the fear of man. We are afraid to stand up for what is right because we are afraid of what others may think.  We are more afraid of what man thinks than of what God thinks.

Brothers and sisters, this should not be!

I issue you a loving challenge today:  Be courageous in the face of evil.  Do not give in to the temptation to save your own skin.  Remember that you are a follower of Christ.  And a follower of Christ, if need be, will follow Him into suffering and persecution in order to remain faithful to Him.

If you have been compromising, repent.  Then determine in your heart that you will never compromise again. 

Making this decision will be very good for your heart!

 

In my newest work of fiction, SURRENDER TO LOVE, young widow and life coach, Dr. Teresa LopezPicMonkeyFINAL061815416pmGonzalez, learns that only a heart submitted totally to God will lead her to life.

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Copyright 2015 by Dr. MaryAnn Diorio. All Rights Reserved. This article may not be published or printed in any form whatsoever without the written permission of Dr. MaryAnn Diorio. You may contact her at maryann@maryanndiorio.com to request permission.

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Dr. Diorio is a Certified Life Coach, a Certified Biblical Counselor, and a Certified Behavioral Consultant. She is also an award-winning, widely published author of fiction for children and adults. You may reach her at maryann@maryanndiorio.com  or via one of her social media venues below:

The Gossip Trap

“Guard your heart above all else, for it determines
the course of your life.” ~ Proverbs 4:23
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gossipFew things harm the heart like gossip.

If you’re like most people, at one time or another you’ve been the victim of gossip. Or, worse yet, you may have actually done the gossiping. Whatever the case, let me share with you some insights on gossiping that will help you not to get upset when people gossip about you or, if you’re the one doing the gossiping, to keep your mouth closed the next time you’re tempted to gossip.

According to Webster, gossip is “a rumor or report of an intimate nature.” A person who spreads such rumors or reports is called a gossip. Another name for a gossip is a busybody. Busybodies meddle in the personal affairs of others by making public what should be kept private.

Gossip is a two-headed monster, the other head of which is slander. While gossip involves telling the truth—albeit the negative truth—about someone, slander, on the other hand, is uttering false charges about someone. Both gossip and slander defame and damage another person’s reputation.

Gossiping today has become a major social pastime. It boldly and brazenly bombards us on talk shows, in newspapers, and in the workplace. Like every other sin, however, gossip brings death in its wake.

In the Bible, God’s instruction manual for man, God talks about gossip in the same breath in which He talks about murder: “But let none of you suffer as a murderer, a thief, an evildoer, or as a BUSYBODY in other people’s matters” (1 Peter 4:15, emphasis mine). The Weymouth translation calls a gossip a “spy” in the affairs of others. 

Why is gossiping so dangerous? The reason is that whereas murder kills a person’s body, gossip kills his reputation.

The penalty for destroying another’s reputation is severe, as God warns us in Psalm 101:5: “Whoever secretly slanders his neighbor, him I will destroy.” God never minces words; when He says destroy, He means destroy.

Moreover, God calls the person who destroys another’s reputation a fool (” . . . whoever spreads slander is a fool”–Proverbs 10:18) and a hypocrite (“The hypocrite with his mouth destroys his neighbor”–Proverbs 11:9). The Bible also warns that gossip destroys relationships between even the best of friends: “A whisperer separates the best of friends” (Proverbs 16:28).

Behind all gossip is a spirit of hatred: “All who hate me whisper together against me” (Psalm 41:7). According to God’s Word, however, one who truly loves his neighbor will not speak evil against him: “Love does no harm to a neighbor” (Romans 13:10).

As with all temptation, the temptation to gossip lies in the momentary pleasure it promises: “The words of a talebearer are like tasty trifles, and they go down into the inmost body” (Proverbs 26:22). But while the morsels of gossip go down smoothly, once they are swallowed, they turn into poison as they reach the inmost body (the spirit).

The person hearing the gossip is poisoned in his opinion of the person who is the object of the gossip. The person gossiping is poisoned in his heart. The person who is the object of the gossip is poisoned in his reputation.

Gossiping is a form of judging one’s neighbor, and the Bible is quite clear on the consequences of judging: “Therefore you are inexcusable, O man, whoever you are who judge…” (Romans 2:1); “For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged” (Matthew 7:2).  Do you want God to judge you the way you are judging others?  He will, you know.

If, however, you are the victim of gossip, and if you are a follower of Jesus Christ, you have the authority through Christ to condemn the gossip against you and to render it powerless: “And every tongue which rises against you in judgment you shall condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord” (Isaiah 54:17).

If you are guilty of gossiping, remember that, like a boomerang, gossip ricochets right back to the person who gossips. Eventually, you yourself will become the object of someone else’s gossip. When the shoe is on your foot, you may not like the fit. 

My dear mother used to say, “If someone gossips to you about someone else, you can be sure the gossiper will gossip to someone else about you. So, stay away from gossip!”

The Bible warns that there is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death (Proverbs 14:12). Gossip may seem all right to you, but sooner or later you will discover that it always leads to death—death of relationships, death of friendships, and death of your own soul.

Decide today to eliminate gossip from your life. You’ll be a much better person as a result.

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Copyright 2015 by Dr. MaryAnn Diorio. All Rights Reserved. This article may not be published or printed in any form whatsoever without the written permission of Dr. MaryAnn Diorio. You may contact her at maryann@maryanndiorio.com to request permission.

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Dr. Diorio is a Certified Life Coach, a Certified Biblical Counselor, and a Certified Behavioral Consultant. She is also an award-winning, widely published author of fiction for children and adults. You may reach her at maryann@maryanndiorio.com  or via one of her social media venues below:

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