The words sizzled like frying bacon. The announcement tantalized the senses like early morning coffee: “Lincoln is not in his coffin.” It was 1887, twenty-two years after Booth’s bullet found its mark, twenty-two years after the state funeral, twenty-two years after multitudes witnessed the casket slowly lowered into the earth.
People ran to the restaurant of rumor and they gorged on the gossip. The meal was sumptuous and the word traveled. To satisfy the feeding frenzy, a select group of witnesses verified that the President’s body was indeed in the coffin, and then it was resealed with lead. All was fine for fourteen years until the body was exhumed again. Why? A rumor was sweeping the country, carried from the ear of one gossiper to the next; Lincoln’s coffin was empty.
Gossip is a delectable dish. That’s why the writer of Proverbs says, “The words of a gossip are choice morsels, they go down to a man’s inmost parts.” (Proverbs 18:8 NIV) Elaborately arrayed, gossiper’s words come better prepared than a chef’s finest. The disciplined dieter and seasoned connoisseur alike find it hard to resist a bite once the aroma of the dish wafts through the air.
“Did you hear what John did?” “I can’t believe what our pastor said to Jenny.” “Oh, you didn’t know that? Let me tell you about it.” “We really need to be praying for Bob because of the mess he got into.”
Choice morsels indeed. They tantalize the pallet of our curiosity, but leave us with the bitter aftertaste of incorrect assumptions, unfounded accusations, wounded reputations and damaged relationships.
God’s words are simple and clear: “Don’t eat! Avoid the restaurant! What appears to be a mouth-watering dish is nothing short of poison.”
FOCAL POINT: Today advertisers will attempt to lure you to eat. You will read their promises on billboards, in magazines, and on bus stop benches. You will hear their bribes on radio and TV. For today, let each be a reminder of gossip’s tantalizing offer of poison disguised as choice morsels. As you see and hear these solicitations, offer up a silent prayer for God’s help to refuse the dish and to help your words be the kind that nourish the soul and lift up the spirit.
Copyright © 2009 Tommy Kiedis