Hometown

Gossip sneaks into our lives like a rat

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Jim Honeycutt

Chaplain-Baptist Minister

Sneaky, cunning, intelligent, a stealthy adversary had gnawed its way in under cover of darkness. It was now was wreaking havoc on the invaded territory. Unnoticed at first, the creature went about his business testing the boundaries of its newfound shelter.

Leaving telltale signs of his arrival, he looked for the perfect place to bed down and build a nest. Out the corner of my eye, I noticed a small place in the garage door as it shut. When closed, the hole was barely visible, but when opened with the sun shining directly upon it, I could see it for what it was, an invasion.

I wondered for a moment what could have made such an ingress into my home. But further inspection proved what I was dealing with… a rat. 

As summer began to wind down and the cool days of fall arrived, this particular creature had decided my garage was where it wanted to spend the winter. And it wasted no time in making this dwelling its own. One thing it did for sure was to make me want to clean out the garage. So, I did. I believed if I made enough noise while I was doing so the unwanted guest would flee.

Thinking that if I made things uncomfortable, greener pastures (someone else’s garage) would be more appealing. I was wrong. After a few days of congratulating myself for eradicating the vermin’s shelter behind my toolbox, I noticed his calling cards around the tires of my wife’s motorcycle. Then, on the bike itself, little footprints were clearly seen in the dust that had accumulated around the footboards.

Deciding to move the motorcycle into the sun for closer inspection I attempted to start it. After several moments with the motor barely turning over, I decided to charge the battery. Removing the cover, I found that the rat wasn’t just visiting the bike, they were building a nest within the engine area. Oh no, this just wouldn’t do. I had to get this intruder out, along with its waste before real damage was done.

The creature had already begun to gnaw at the wires, even tearing off some of the protective cover that surrounded the electronics. I took my leaf blower and blew out all the accumulated nesting material and replaced the battery with a new one. Then, getting on the motorcycle, I took it out on the highway for a ride. I was determined to get the engine so hot that it would simply be unbearable. After several frustrating days of playing hide and seek with a rat that’s cunning and superior to my skills of hunting, I called in an expert. He told me that I had made the garage a tempting place to shelter, with various spots a rat would find appealing.

So, I straightened things up further and set traps. As of this writing the rat’s presence is not known. We have not trapped him, I have seen no further evidence, but just because I can’t see any proof, that doesn’t mean he is not there. Lurking just beyond my sight, hiding in the shadows, waiting for the opportunity to make himself at home, much to the destruction of my property. 

There are things that sneak into our lives under cover of darkness. Things that sometimes go unnoticed at first. Things that unless dealt with will bring about destruction. They gnaw at the precious things in our lives and leave behind waste, like rat droppings. One of the most costly things is gossip. And though some joke about it, saying everyone does it. The straight truth is it is just as dangerous as a two-edged sword. Able to cut up not only its intended target, but the one who wields it.

So common is gossip, that it’s become second nature. Even those that know it’s sinful, may find themselves captivated by its content. We do it in so many ways that some are truly artists at painting false narratives. They toss a line here and there, imply a thought at just the right moment, drop a snide remark into a truthful conversation. And so on and so on and so on. You know the game. Gossip isn’t just found in the coffee shops or the social clubs or even the hair salons. It is well rooted in many within the Church. It’s not called gossip, but whatever name you give it, it’s still against God’s will. 

The Bible makes it clear (Christians I’m talking to you) so let us remind ourselves what it says. 

You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor. Exodus 20:16. I tell you, on the day of judgement, people will give an account for every careless word they speak. Matthew 12:36.

Whoever slanders their neighbors in secret, I will put to silence; whoever has haughty eyes and a proud heart, I will not tolerate. Psalm 101:5. If fearing the discipline of God doesn’t stir your heart to correct your gossiping tongue, then perhaps Jesus’s words will… so in everything, do unto others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up The Law and The Prophets. Matthew 7:12.

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