Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one's life for one's friends.
- John 15:13
Lay down your gossip.
Let me start with a question: What’s the first thing you do when you’re hurt by someone you call friend? When this happens to me, I am lit up. Like, really lit up! And, when this happens, I hate to say it, but the first thing I want to do is make a call to someone else to tell them how I was wronged. Guess what people? That’s called gossip.
What does it say about my heart, that this is my inclination? When I really strip it down raw, it shows that my heart is first and foremost for me. My heart is trying to protect me, stand up for me, and put me first. I gossip, because I want to feel “better than” and “in the right”. But, here’s the deal: WE CAN’T KEEP LIVING “ME FIRST”.
You see, laying down our life isn’t always about the literal sacrifice of life (although, we will talk about this in next week’s guest post by our member of the month and military spouse, Megan Brown). Laying down our life (in one small practical way) means laying down our "me first" mentality and choosing not to gossip. It means giving up “our right” to hold on to hurt. It means honoring and loving a friend, even when they’ve wronged us and maybe don’t deserve it. Instead of picking up my phone to call my girls and tell them all the “crazy” of this other person, I need to lay down my gossip, and GO. TO. THEM. Going to the other person instead of gossiping does three things:
FIRST: it makes space for truth, clarity, and understanding. Because, let’s be honest, sometimes our hurt is based on our false assumptions about the other person’s intentions and motivations and not on fact. Getting the facts is a great place to start.
SECOND: it allows for us to speak out our pain, bringing awareness to the hurt. Sometimes, our friend actually has no idea that they’ve wronged us! We’ve got to give them an opportunity to know what’s going on in our heart.
THIRD: when we lay down our gossip and choose a greater love, we become more like Jesus. You see, he’s our model here. If Jesus flew up to God every time I wronged him, he’d have platinum status on every major airline. But, he doesn’t. He laid his life down when he (of all people) had every right not to. He is perfect, and I’ve wronged him again and again. Yet, he’s always ready to work it out with me.
So, starting with me, starting today, let’s dig into this verse in a simple and practical way. Let’s commit to laying down our gossip, giving our friends the opportunity to work it out, and choosing to live a life of great love －the life that Jesus calls us to live.