I love candy. I was born in Hershey. How can you be born in Hershey and not love candy?!? I know the difference between good candy and bad candy. I know the nasty taste of cheap candy. I remember when candy would be passed around in school or during a holiday and it wasn’t something very familiar. Sometimes it was bought at a bargain store; sometimes it was on sale because it was out-of-date. Either way, the candy was disgusting. It made me sick.
Today’s passage speaks of gossip—listening to gossip. “Listening to gossip is like eating cheap candy” – YUCK!!! “Do you really want junk like that in your belly?” Well, do you?
Gossip is horrible. It is not good to be the spreader of the gossip. It is not good to be on the receiving end either. It is certainly hard to get the gossiper to stop talking or to change topic. I know I have a problem with this because I don’t want to be rude. The best thing I have been able to do is to change the subject. I cannot always do it, but I try. You have to let the gossiper know you don’t want to hear that stuff. Truthfully you don’t want to hear that stuff. It is junk in your belly. Plus it might get the gossip to realize his or her bad actions. Remember that whether you are the gossip, or the hearer of the gossip, both bring about trouble. You don’t need the cheap candy to sicken your stomach. Change the topic. Walk away. Tell them you don’t want to gossip. Do whatever you need to do to keep the words from entering your ears.
“Listening to gossip is like eating cheap candy;
do you really want junk like that in your belly?”
– Proverbs 18:8 [MSG]
This past week was a difficult one for me. My routine was missing in action. Sleep escaped me. My level of pain was at its highest. We were relocating. I was working every day, all day. It was draining.
I was standing at work in pain, tired and dreading the end of my shift when I would return home to move more stuff to the new place. I asked a friend if she had some hard candy like a Lifesaver, because my throat was dry. Little did I know, a customer was listening to the conversation. As I finished with his order, he handed me the Lifesavers. I argued that it was against policy to accept things from customers. He then said he would leave them sit for me, that it was his policy to be nice. Jokingly, the lady behind him said she liked Three Musketeers. I was amazed as I spied him picking up yet another small gift to bring another smile around.
My day was not going well. I was exhausted and found myself on the verge of tears, nearly falling asleep standing, and wearing more braces than ever before because my body was feeling the week’s work. Then here came this fellow who became a lifesaver for a moment. His attitude and generosity had a great impact on me and the other customer. One small gesture had a ripple effect. It was a great reminder of our great Lifesaver. The gentleman paid attention to those around him and took action. It did not cost him a lot of money. It did not cost him a lot of time. This reminds me of something Mother Teresa said, “I alone cannot change the world, but I can cast a stone across the waters to create many ripples.”
“My beloved friends, let us continue to love each other since love comes from God. Everyone who loves is born of God and experiences a relationship with God. The person who refuses to love doesn’t know the first thing about God, because God is love—so you can’t know him if you don’t love. This is how God showed his love for us: God sent his only Son into the world so we might live through him. This is the kind of love we are talking about—not that we once upon a time loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to clear away our sins and the damage they’ve done to our relationship with God.” – 1 John 4:7 [MSG]