Episode ThemeCommunity-Building: Dousing the fire of gossip.
A perverse person stirs up conflict, and a gossip separates close friends.
Have you ever started a wildfire…..with your words? How much do you know about wildfires?
In 1825, strong winds and little rain combined to form the Miramichi Fire, which killed 160 people, left 15,000 people homeless, and burned 3 million acres of land in Maine and in New Brunswick, Canada.
In October, 1871, the Peshtigo Fire began. This fire killed about 1,500 people (800 just from the town of Peshtigo—almost half of the population) and destroyed 3.7 million acres of land in Wisconsin and Michigan. Few people have heard of this fire (which killed more people than any fire since then) because another fire also began that same day: The Great Chicago Fire.
In July, 1988, a wildfire began in Yellowstone National Park that scorched about 36% of the entire park and was not fully extinguished until it snowed (in September). (Source: http://www.foresthistory.org)
Our words can be as dangerous as a spark that sets thousands of acres on fire. Jesus’ brother James wrote “the tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts. Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark. The tongue is also a fire…no man can tame the tongue…with the tongue we praise our LORD and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in God’s likeness. (James 3: 5-6, 8- 9)
Gossip—talking about other people especially saying mean things that may not be true —starts small. It can be just two people talking about someone else, but it spreads beyond the two people faster than a fire. And taking back your words after you’ve said them….that’s harder to do than stopping raging wildfire. What can you do about the sting of gossip? Self-control! If you would never say the words to a person, then never say them about the person. Only you can stop the wildfire known as gossip!