Some of the women especially reading this today, may have heard of a reality show called ‘The Real Housewives of….’. For the uninitiated, it’s a reality TV show that follows the lives of small groups of successful women as they ‘do life’ together.
It’s all about friendship and relationships. Whilst not the kind of show I normally watch, I’ve gleaned it’s not just the good times that the show focuses on, but the all the ups and downs of friendships the world over.
It is literally astounding to see how quickly the beauty of sisterhood can quickly disintegrate into ‘frenemies’. The ‘ups’ are all cosy huddles, kindness, laughter, loving support etc. The ‘downs’ are gossip, arguments, judgements, offense, and betrayal. Nothing new under the sun then.
As pastors wives or women in leadership roles, (as well as the male equivalent!) we can all attest to how difficult it can be at times to be around certain groups or individuals. In all fairness, people may say they find it hard to be around us too! I know many readers have been hurt and burnt by the words of others, and it’s so devastating when this happens. The point of this piece today is to stir up a passion again that we as godly women/godly men choose to be totally biblical in our love and acceptance of others in our lives - friends, acquaintances, and other pastors/pastors wives.
It’s time to raise up a fresh standard, a standard for purity and holiness from those of us who are part of the church of Christ.
God takes our speech very seriously.
‘And the tongue is a fire, a world of unrighteousness. The tongue is set among our members, staining the whole body, setting on fire the entire course of life, and set on fire by hell. For every kind of beast and bird, of reptile and sea creature, can be tamed and has been tamed by mankind, but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison.( James 3:6-8 ESV)
In Matthew 12:34 Jesus says ‘From the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks’. Perhaps the first step we need to take is to do some checking in with ourselves for any wounds, hurts, jealousies, unforgiveness, etc. After all, our tongues will only speak what they have access too.
Proverbs 18:21 puts it this way: “The tongue has the power of life and death.” How tragic that we can bring death to others so glibly if we aren’t careful. Death to someone’s character, reputation, role, and even friendships. A great quote is “If you have nothing good to say, then say nothing at all”. Choose to speak only good things.
Don’t be someone who listens to gossip either, it’s nasty and hurtful and never wholly truth. People will only bring you gossip - if you are someone who tolerates it, or even enjoys it. ‘The words of a gossip are like choice morsels; they go down to the inmost parts’.( Proverbs 26:22)
Chances are most of us have battled with various insecurities over the years, and that is probably the same for the very individuals we may be quick to judge. Remember that there is another side to everyone, and none of us really know what goes on in another person’s world, heart, or mind. That’s God’s place, not ours. It’s so unpalatable and indeed totally unbiblical when we know better, but still chose to trash others with our words.
Imagine now if you will, a televised show from your own world ‘The Real Pastors Wives of …OR ‘The Real Pastors/ Real Pastors Spouse of…. ’
If you were followed by cameras and every word and action recorded, would we be known for being integrous, loving, gracious, non-judgemental and pure? Or would our flaws be magnified in our speech and behaviour as we were exposed for being more of a frenemy than a true friend. Let’s choose God’s way today, the high calling of life and love, purity and holiness, and instead of imagining film crews and TV appearances, we remember that we live under His constant gaze and listening ear.
Here are some helpful words from The Word to inspire us today.
“Gentle words bring life and health; a deceitful tongue crushes the spirit.” (Proverbs 15:4 )
“Kind words are like honey–sweet to the soul and healthy for the body.” (Proverbs 16:24)
“A person’s words can be life-giving water; words of true wisdom are as refreshing as a bubbling brook.” (Proverbs 18:4)
My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires. Therefore, get rid of all moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent and humbly accept the word planted in you, which can save you. Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues in it—not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it—they will be blessed in what they do. Those who consider themselves religious and yet do not keep a tight rein on their tongues deceive themselves, and their religion is worthless. Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world. (James 1v19-27)