Sunday, September 14, 2014

Every Thought Captive

                             Girl Picking Roses by Louis Lemaire, French, 1824-1910

It has been a full day and very hot weather, which I appreciated. I pray it will last a lot longer. 

Sundays always go faster than I want them to. After church there is meal time, clean-up, and then it seems like the time is gone. I like to have one simple creative activity each day, so today I will share one of my acrylic stamps. These can sometimes be purchased for a dollar or less at craft stores.

I got this acrylic set at Hobby Lobby during the half-price sale, and a pink ink pad. I remember when fountain pens were commonly used, and I like the elegant look of them. I also remember the ink bottles, so I had a brief moment of nostalgia when trying out this stamp during my leisure time.

There is a subject I have been thinking about for awhile, and it seems difficult to address but I have  decided to tackle it.  This is a request I received last year.

 The question was: What should you do if someone has been talking about you and spreading rumors that are not true?  

The lady went on to relate that she had heard that someone was saying that she and her husband were going to leave their old neighborhood and build a big house in another location. While the gossip was not malicious, just the thought of people talking about a major life-change that did not exist was disturbing.  People would ask her questions like, "So when are you moving?" or, "Who bought your old house?"

My first thought about this question is that rumors can be much worse! The person could have found out something much more personal and embarrassing, making the current rumor seem harmless, but it is an invasion of privacy and can hurt just as much as cruel, mean gossip.  When you hear a rumor about where you are going, it is like someone is taking control of your life, and that can be unsettling.

Such a rumor can be easily started just by a casual remark in which you admire a style of house in a magazine while visiting with a friend.  There is an old saying that if you give some people an inch, they will take a mile, but in reality there is an occasional person who will take something ten miles!  For that reason, it is important that Christian women put a seal on their lips regarding even some of the most harmless remarks. 

Some people are overly fascinated with the lives of other people, and can take the most congeniel conversation, embellish it and send it on its way, where it gathers even more fantastic facts and returns to the poor lady who inadvertently started it.

 "You have taken an idea in your head and then have run wild with it," said Jane Austen in her novel, "Emma." 

While the New Testament warns about tale-bearing and wandering from house to house with silly gossip, we often forget that sometimes the non-gossiper can start her own rumor by revealing the most harmless, innocent thing about herself. It gives material to the simple-minded and invites an invasion of privacy. 

Privacy is not highly respected these days. We can bring back respect for privacy by not being so free to reveal every thing, every thought, every like and dislike, every plan, every  setback, or every belief we have.  We need to save our innermost dreams and plans for The Lord.  

A popular myth is that it is not good to "bottle things up" and that it is healthier to "share."  But we need to be cautious about what we say and to whom. We need to be discerning about the maturity of the other person, so that we are thrifty with the information we give them.

One reason it is easy to spread one's own rumors by an innocent remark to someone, is that we believe that everyone is good and that since we would not try to stretch a tidbit of information 10 miles, neither would anyone else. 

 This is something homeschoolers need to teach their children. Not everyone is just like you. Not everyone is discreet. Not everyone has had good training in how to talk or has been taught what is or is not appropriate to talk about. Therefore we need to tell the children how to be cautious about what they say to people outside of the family, and also what is and what is not to be revealed that is personal, in some cases even to other family members.

"...bringing into captivity every thought..."  (2 Cor. 10:5b)

When you take a thought captive, you lock it up and do not let it escape through your lips. In a situation where someone is not necessarily spreading a vicious rumor about you, it is important to hold captive even some of the perfectly acceptable information about yourself and your family.  Not everyone needs to know even normal things about you, especially if they tend to use it for mischief.

We do not always realize how a very innocent remark can be taken and exaggerated. So, while we know the Bible reprimands the bad habit of gossip, it is essential that Christian ladies not give those who are prone to gossip, any free fodder to spread around. That means weighing everything you say and thinking before you speak everything that is on your mind. Think about how a weaker-minded person could misconstrue some normal, little thing. 

While a lady may feel upset when there is gossip spread about her for no reason, she has to do her part not to add any fuel to gossip by revealing things, as innocent as they may be. 

As to what to do about the ridiculous rumors that are spread about you, that is the question of the day.  Some people have tried to confront the perpetrator but only increased the problem.  The talker only gets more steam from a confrontation and carries more tales about the person who reprimanded them.  In the grown-up world, some people who act like children do not feel they have to learn to behave better, so they get worse and worse.  It is best to avoid them, or else confine your remarks to the weather.

(n.) One who officiously tells tales; one who impertinently or maliciously communicates intelligence, scandal, etc., and makes mischief.

I think the key to this is the definition: and makes mischief.  

Normal people who have good sense can have a conversation and not grasp on to any thing that is said and take it beyond what was said or intended, and will not use it to cause problems for someone, but not everyone is at the same level of mental maturity.

As example, someone asks you, "What are you doing today?"  You reply. "Nothing much."  A simple minded person who lacks discernment and has no understanding of discretion might tell someone that you do nothing at home all day. When that gets spread around, you will feel indignant and betrayed, but you must learn to be careful what you say to certain people.

 We have the same problem today in the way people interpret the Bible. They will sometimes read something more into a passage than is said. They will carry it to extremes.  But where the mind is trained to think properly, the meaning will be clear, without exaggeration or embellishment. This training begins in childhood but if such training is neglected, an adult can change with proper study and practice.

I am looking forward to any insights you may have on this subject, so please feel free to leave a comment.  If you prefer to be anonymous, let me know and I will change the settings.

This is a sample of how the acrylic stamps may be used to make something that looks like scrapbook paper.


Anonymous said...

Good Morning...Dropping you into with you a Blessed Week...


Southern Ladye said...

How true this is! My husband and I are very private people and very seldom share things with others, except for very close friends and family and even then it is usually limited information. However, I have experienced exactly what you have talked about in this post, where an innocent remark has been twisted and turned into something else and it made me look like I was being mean and cruel about another person when it wasn't the case at all! Thankfully we were able to stop it very quickly, but it was a painful lesson in where even innocent remarks can be twisted if someone's mind is bent to mischief!

Katrinka said...

This is a thought-provoking post. There have been some people that continually think and speak untrue things about me, although as far as I know not to a large group of the general public. At first I protested and tried to make amends and talk things through to hopefully bring the relationship back to a good footing. But that only seemed to inflame everything and send us in circles, so I'll no longer discuss it.

This seems to me, in a Christian sense, to be the wrong thing to do. But I think we are all trying to being polite and courteous to each other as we skirt around this topic, and that may be the best I can hope for. I can't change what people think or say if they're really determined to think ill, and I'm much more peaceful when I ignore what might be thought or said of me and ask God to deal with it. And we all need a peaceful life.

I use a fountain pen often and would use it more if I could find a waterproof ink that is easily obtainable. My handwriting looks so pretty when I use my fountain pen and I can write for a very long time without my hand getting tired because almost no pressure on the paper is needed. It's even more comfortable than all those ergonomic pens.

Thank you for addressing this topic, Lydia.

Gayle said...

I read this on a website about why people gossip and I thought it was a very good reason why:People gossip in order to hurt those whose popularity, talents, or lifestyle they envy.
It always seems to be the prettier, more talented people who get gossiped about than anyone else. It has to be based on envy because of the self esteem issues of the person gossiping. These people really need to take a long hard look at themselves and ask why they are letting someone elses life take so much of their time. Most of us are too busy to take the time to spread gossip. Or to want to hurt someone in that way. Just some thoughts.

Lydia said...

Decades ago you could embarrass a gossip by confronting them. Now, the new gossip in the block just shrugs their shoulders and says so-what and acts like you are paranoid.

Lydia said...

The other kind of destruction of a meddler is the one who says they are trying to help people. They use charity and ministry as an opportunity to gather personal information about someone. They hide behind their claim to be reaching out in ministry of some kind, all the while finding out who your relatives are, what your past is, how often you visit your mother, who is in your social circle. They can get a lot of mileage from very benign information that is quite ordinary, such as names of friends, drivers license expiration (when you innocently say you have to go renew your license, it can be turned into a story), what you are preparing for lunch, how much something cost, where you went on vacation.

Lydia said...

Gayle, I am noticing that the new gossips on the block are more slick at what they do. They can appear to be quite busy but they mumble a thing or two to someone else in passing, or they use their electronic communication for spreading rumors. What is just as bad as the gossip are the naive people whose eyes widen with belief in the ridiculous assertions about someone,

J♥Yce Burrows said...

If the gossip source is known ~ believers can either confront or not(Proverbs 26: 4, 5) including concerning church discipline(1 Corinthians 5:12, 13)??? What doesn't work is stirring up more interest by adding firewood to the fire when the thought is to put it out or trying to gather back in all the feathers that have been blown to the wind.

Katrinka ~ Hobby Lobby online has inks that are waterproof. Higgins Calligraphy has more product for a near similar price as Dr. Ph Martin's Bombay India Ink for less product(but many colors including feminine violet). has calligraphy ink and india ink for a size and price comparison plus discount and shipping info. I remember my dad receiving a letter that was clearly of hand to pen and ink making the penmanship presentation so lovely. Hope you find what you desire!

Sabine said...

Lydia, can you give some suggestions for how to answer the question, "What are you doing today?", when you don't necessarily feel obligated to list your activities?

Katrinka said...

Joyce, thank you for the tip. I had no idea Hobby Lobby had so much fine ink!

Gayle said...

You have really opened my eyes, I just could not imagine someone wanting to hurt another person on purpose that way. I think if we are kind to each other and try and lift each other up, it is so much a better use of our time instead of trying to destroy a person. I come to your blog to get peace in a busy day. You always uplift me and make me feel better. Looking at your pretty tea time or what you are sewing or reading, it's like a kind friend sharing their day with you. Thank goodness for women like you.

Lydia said...

Gayle, people who never mature behind the same childish thinking will always take something nice and create trouble out of it. If such people will. It overcome their so silly destructive behavior, and did not learn it in their youth, they will learn it the hard way from employers and other employees, relatives, and acquaintances. They will find themselves cut off from ordinary conversation.

Lydia said...

how about "we are always busy!" or "the usual" or "I have a list. What are YOU doing today?"

Susan said...

This is a wonderful article. I wonder if you would mind listing some of the New Testament scriptures that speak about gossip and telling tales. I would like to use them as a reference for a discussion about this subject.

It is a sad society we live in where women(and men)have nothing better to do than snoop and gossip. Jealousy and boredom I believe are two reasons. Instead we should have full days from morning to night caring for our families or helping others in the community. I think we could imagine a different and better world if that were to happen. After being the victim of gossip numerous times, I am slowly learning to be very discreet when I speak. It is a skill that needs to be taught young people.

Emmarinda said...

Lydia, I loved when you enabled us to post anonymously. Would you consider allowing that again?

Lydia said...

Anonymous comments are welcome on this post

Lydia said...

1Pe 4:15    But let none of you suffer as a murderer, or as a thief, or as an evildoer, or as a busybody in other men's matters.
1Pe 4:16    Yet if any man suffer as a Christian, let him not be ashamed; but let him glorify God on this behalf.

1Ti 5:13    And withal they learn to be idle, wandering about from house to house; and not only idle, but tattlers also and busybodies, speaking things which they ought not.

1Ti 4:7    But refuse profane and old wives' fables, and exercise thyself rather unto godliness.

1Th 4:11    And that ye study to be quiet, and to do your own business, and to work with your own hands, as we commanded you;

Tit 1:10    For there are many unruly and vain talkers and deceivers, specially they of the circumcision:
Tit 1:11    Whose mouths must be stopped, who subvert whole houses, teaching things which they ought not, for filthy lucre's sake.

J♥Yce Burrows said...

Katrinka ~ you are very welcome; it was a pleasure! :-)

Andrea R said...

I think it is a sad reflection of society, today.

While gossips and meddlers have always existed, our times have changed so much that folks think everyone's lives should be open for discussion.

In the day of Facebook, of which I am not a part, people post every single happening in their lives, and discuss personal matters, debate and attach others. It seems that those on Facebook have adopted the "open book" mentality for themselves, and many seem to believe others should be part of the same lifestyle.

With all the "busy" people create for themselves..all the working for women, and running around for children to be entertained, and yet still not peace and quiet hearts! They still want more to fill their ears and lips!

Sabine said...

Thanks, Lydia. Those are good responses.

anonymous said...

I like your stamps and the colors you've used.

My mom used to make greeting cards adding dried flowers that I collected and pressed for her. She uses lots of stamps on them also.

Thank you for sharing.

Mrs. J.

Julie said...

We studied 1Peter 4:15 with some elders. It was very profound. Busybodies are lumped together and counted equal as a murderer and a thief. If an occasion arises I try to steer the conversation to that verse and explain I don't participate in gossip. One also has to train their ears not to hover around and listen to it.

Sarah said...

You have articulated what I have always thought perfectly. Thank you.

Especially being within Christian circles (bible studies, women's groups, etc..) there is an expectation to always be 'open & accountable.'

There was a recent trial I have been dealing with which only a few knew about (wanting them to pray for me). One of these persons told our entire small group bible study (roughly 20 people) abut my prayer request assuming I was too quiet to voice it myself. Unfortunately, now all persons are aware of this issue and I must take comments, advice, etc... with an attitude of grace. Often, I don't feel very much like it though. :)

How I wish there were someone like you at my church who had the same thoughts on discretion. God bless you.

Lydia said...

I need to clarify that nit everything we say is gossip. It is very appropriate to warn yiur family, yiur husband, etc. of the antics of the unruly and those who cause trouble , or to caution people about a busy body,nits okay to say "Be careful what you say to that person because she has trouble minding her own business." The apostle said "I have heard thst.." And "It has been reported to me thst..." So obviously he thought it was necessary that someone report the unruly to an authority in the church to warn others. In the name of no gossip, it's very harmful to cover up or protect the person who causes division. They must be pointed out and discussion and plans about how to stop their mouths must ensue.

Lydia said...

Julie the fact that idea talk is in at list of horrible sins should make people understand how harmful it is, the sentence was addresses to church members to help keep the church free from such talk. So if someone is obsessed with talking about someone else they are doing serious harm and God saw fit to include it along with sins. Of bodily harm. That's food for thought,

Rachel and Family said...

Thank you for writing this post. I find that sometimes people (women!) perceive privacy as snobbery. I really need to get over that ;) As a minister's wife, people think they are entitled to know many private details of our and our children's lives. I know I have contributed to that in the past but God is maturing me to be careful where my words fall. Most people really don't have our best interest at heart and instead want to collect information. I am reminded of the virgin Mary who received such tremendous and exciting news, and yet the Scripture says "she pondered these things in her heart".