I can recall a time where I wasn’t in the presence of others who encouraged me to persevere no matter the situation or circumstance, but rather they talked about me. During the start of my high school career when great swelling took over my body, I can recall people talking about how fat I had become. They didn’t care to find out that my kidneys were no longer functioning to the ability they once were, and that medication to prolong failure caused me to bloat. I remember people talking about how I was unable to shower and would call me dirty. They didn’t care to know that I had catheters surgically placed in different parts of my body so that I could dialyze and remain alive; they didn’t care to know that the open wounds produced by the catheters were inviting to bacteria and infections and that they needed to be kept sterile. I remember hearing stories about people talking about me being in the hospital, using hateful words and racial slurs, and hoping that the kidney would fail or that I would die; They didn’t care that I had underwent a major surgery and that death was a very real possibility; they didn’t care that I was going through the most crucial week of my entire life.
Although there were many who talked and didn’t care to find out what was really going on, there were a few who did. There were a few who took time to understand all the medication that I was on; how it slowed me down and was fatiguing to my body and worked dispel my negative feelings toward my weight. There were a few who took time to understand that I could sponge bathe; who took time to understand that dialysis was a long and tiring process that is often depressing and helped to encourage me with kind words. There were a few that actually took time to come and visit me after my transplant both at the hospital and at home. Not only did these few people bless me with their words of encouragement and not talk about me, but they…prayed for me.
I believe many of us have lost sight of God’s word which tells us to be a blessing so that we may receive a blessing. (“Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult. On the contrary, repay evil with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing.” - 1Peter 3:9). I also believe that many have forgotten that we are to pray for one another, (“Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective. James 5:16) even for our enemies and those we don’t like (But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you - Matthew 5:44).
Too often do I hear others talking about another’s situation or circumstance to others. Many times those talking about others didn’t take the time to understand the situation or circumstance and rather they speculate. Other times, when they know a little they fabricate, and if they do know and are talking then they just hate. Brothers and Sisters we have been called to love one another as Christ has loved us (John 13:34) and love does no harm to a neighbor and therefore is the fulfillment of the law (Romans 13:10). We are called, as often as we have the opportunity, to do good to all people, especially to those in the household of believers (Galatians 6:10). The tongue has the power of life and death (Proverbs 18:21), what are you speaking? If we continue to talk about others circumstances and situations and use it against them rather than taking time to understand and do the greatest good by praying for them in the name of Jesus and encouraging them to persevere then we are tearing others down, not building them up, and more importantly, we are not living up to the calling.
When approached by the teachers of the law and Pharisees seeking to stone an adulterous woman caught in the act, Christ did not engage in the conversation (John 8:1-11). Even as they questioned more he did not give in, rather he responded “Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.” He then told the woman that He did not condemn her and told the woman to leave her life of sin. We as followers of Christ should be watchful not to give in to gossiping, condemning and tearing down as well; rather we should restore that person gently (Galatians 6:1), and pray for them.
God answers prayer, not gossip. If we spent less time gossiping about others and their (potential) situations and circumstances and more time praying for others, how strong would the body of Christ be and how much greater would we get along? Without wood a fire goes out; without a gossip a quarrel dies down (Proverbs 26:20). Can you imagine how much better off everyone would be as a result? We need to strengthen our confidence in God and know that when we ask anything according to His will, He hears us and He answers (1John 5:14-15). Last time I checked, my Bible says that it is Gods will that none perish, but all come to repentance (2 Peter 3:9).
The t-shirts given out this year at the kidney walk contained a simple phrase: “Don’t just talk about it, walk about it!” Brothers and Sisters let us cease from talking about others to tear down, condemn, start quarrels, spread rumors, lies and gossip. Rather, let us walk about it by taking time to talk to one going through a trial, situation or circumstance and encourage them, and then pray about it. Stop talking. Start praying.