Saturday, November 7, 2009

Beware of Moths and Sligs

I will be attending the Indianapolis Christian Writers' Conference this weekend, so I thought you'd enjoy a little devotional today. I covet your prayers as I seek God for direction in my writing, and renewed passion. Thanks and love, Jen

"Life and death are in the power of the tongue." Proverbs 18:21

From the open kitchen window, I heard Esther and Ron playing in the sandbox on our patio. Ron was touring his Little People bus up and down the trails he’d made in the damp sand.
“Now, Ron,” began five-year-old Esther, her tone full of caution, “if you ever go on a real bus, make sure you sit way in the back.”
“Why?” asked Ron.
Estie’s voice became dark with caution: “Because if a moth or a slig (her word for slug) comes in the front, you can run out the side door before it gets to you.”
Ron stayed his usual calm self. “What will it do if it gets me?”
“Well, the moth will bite all your clothes off. I’m not sure what the slig will do, but you just better sit in the back like I said!”

Although Esther’s motive was protecting her younger brother from harm, I wondered where she’d picked up the idea that moths would gobble your clothes down to the zippers. Perhaps she’d overheard Kevin and I talk about putting moth cakes in her closet so her clothes wouldn’t be ruined. That’s how rumors get started, I chuckled to myself.

In thirty-five years of ministry, we’ve had to dispel a few rumors of our own. Shortly after we were married, we moved from our first pastorate to a church several hours away. In the mail one day came a package from one of our former “sheep,” an elderly lady we’d grown close to. When I opened it and saw the lovely pale green and yellow crocheting, I squealed with delight, “Oooh, a lap robe. How thoughtful of Lydia. She must have known it was colder down here than in Fresno.” Then I saw them: silky pastel green and yellow ribbons on each corner of my new “lap robe.” I held it up for Kevin’s admiration.

“Um, Jeanette, I don’t think covering our laps was what Lydia had in mind when she made that. I imagine it’s meant to cover a baby.”
“Oh dear,” I moaned. “I wonder how she got the idea we were expecting?”
I sat down that moment and wrote her a sincere thank you note for all the work and love she’d put into our “lap robe,” explaining that we weren’t planning our family just yet, but when we did, she’d be one of the first to know.

Do you wonder how rumors get started? Are people bored and long to stir up some excitement, so they make up a shocking story? Do they see something that looks suspicious, and don’t bother to ask the people involved what’s really going on? Or, like Estie, do they misunderstand and misinterpret something they’ve heard?

Regardless of the reason for a rumor’s beginning, we children of the Lord must not be guilty of spreading questionable news about a person, group or business. It’s important that we go to the source of the rumor and find out the truth, so we can stop it if it’s gossip. The writer of Proverbs tells us, “Words kill, words give life; they’re either poison or fruit—you choose” (Proverbs 18:21).

We can ruin a person’s reputation or cause a panic by negative, deadly words. Or, we can lift someone’s broken spirit with positive, life-giving words. We’re not bringing death or life to only those to whom we speak. Our words bring curses or blessing to our own hearts as well.
Next time you hear something that sounds a little juicy, think before you pass it on. Those sligs and moths may be listening, and we wouldn’t want them to get the wrong idea.


  1. Excellent post! I try really hard not to gossip, but with my mom....grrr.... I tend to break down and blab. Gotta work on that.

    And funny thing, when I was a kid I was afraid of moth's too because I thought they'd eat my clothes.

  2. Oh How I understand. I have a dear family member who 'talks before thinking'. It begins speculations that should have never been said.

  3. Good reminder. Our tongues do so much damage when left to run rampant! :O)

  4. Enjoy your time away! When you get back, send me your snail mail! You won!

  5. Great post, and a good reminder. Sometimes talk seems so innocent but we should be careful and even prayerful about what kind of news and words we're passing along. Have a wonderful time away!

  6. What a good word to caution us to be very careful what we listen to and what we repeat. Thank you for the reminder.

    Your blog title, "Audience of One," encouraged me when I saw it pop up on my follow list. Yes, words can build up, too.

  7. Thanks Jeanetted for a timely post for me. The Holy Spirit does a wonderful job of pricking me every time I enter a gray are of conversation.

  8. Hi Jeanette -

    Hope you have a wonderful time at the conference.

    The scripture talks a lot about the tongue. Thanks for reminding us to watch ours.

    Susan :)

  9. Jeanette:
    That is so true. We need to learn not to pay attention to rumor or gossip.

    It was nice seeing you this weekend.

  10. Hey, I really liked that one. Blessings to you.


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