Today’s Scripture: But I say unto you, that every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment. For by thy words thou shalt be justified and by thy words thou shalt be condemned. Matthew¬†12:36-37

There is an old musical in which there is a group of ladies standing around gossiping, and they are surrounded by a bunch of hens pecking at the ground. Although I am not much of one to sit down and watch this sort of thing, my wife loves it. The song that goes with this scene is a pretty good illustration of what we are like when we gossip. Pick a little, talk a little, cheep, cheep, cheep…and I very much agree. Talk is cheap, but it can have expensive consequences.

Throughout history, there are countless illustrations of how words eventually turned into wars. The Pharisees became worried because they were losing their grip on society. So, they began spreading the word that Jesus was getting His power from the devil. Eventually, all this talk ended with Jesus crucified on a cross. When Nero blamed the burning of Rome on the Christians, it initiated empire-wide persecution against believers. Hitler verbally blaming the Jews for everything wrong with this world ended in more suffering and evil than can ever be fully comprehended.

The truth about a big lie is that if you repeat one loud enough, long enough, and often enough, people will believe it. Small talk has big consequences. Be careful about conversations and unguarded moments because we will give account. Words are powerful, and can never be taken back once they have left our lips. The minute they hit the air, they become permanent.

Friend, talk is cheap. Do we really want to be like a bunch of chickens pecking at the ground instead of setting our sights on Heaven? It is pretty hard to look up when you are too busy searching for little crumbs in the dirt, don’t you think? I don’t know what kind of gossip is difficult for you to avoid, but no matter if it is about your friends, your boss, or your church, think about what you look like to the Lord when He watches you pecking at the ground instead of being busy serving Him.

It doesn’t require any courage or spirituality to talk about someone else, but choosing to take action and make a difference does. If someone is struggling spiritually, do something about it; if someone is causing strife, lovingly confront them about it. If someone is dragging other people down, take a stand and try to lift them back up. Remember, when you’re tempted to pick a little, talk a little, don’t pick people apart, look for those whose hearts you can help put back together.

Devotional by Dr. James A. Scudder