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  • Writer's pictureElpidio Pezzella

Speak to Edify

"Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers.''

(Ephesians 4:29 NKJV)

It remains a difficult task to keep one's language from expressing comments and judgments from which it would be appropriate to refrain, especially when they concern matters unrelated to us. Too quick to escape from any kind of brake. Especially since words leave the time they find, the wind almost always takes them away and leaves no concrete trace. They usually weigh like boulders, sharp as daggers, cold as ice. Their purpose, at best, is to fulfill a duty. Otherwise they serve to discriminate, offend, and strike. But the words that find more space, either because they are unhappy or misunderstood, are those that go under the hat of gossip. It is about those inappropriate and indiscreet chatter aimed at putting someone in a bad light, practically the daily bread of many and the main subject of television schedules and social posts. Sometimes that little courage would be enough to be honest, and therefore to tell someone that he is wrong, that things are not as he claims, instead of fueling the chatter.

The word "pettegolezzo'' (''gossip'') in italian would recall the act of primates combing each other, as it could derive from the term "pithecus" (monkey). The english word "gossip" instead dates back to the ancient expression "God-sibb" which literally means "a person connected to another by the will of God", indicating the particular relationship of two very intimate people, who talk about personal matters , but also of relationships, sharing many secrets. Underlying gossip would be something important to relationships. The problem, however, arises when the intimate "fleas" are shown to third parties with a certain pleasure, almost with taste. This is why the wise man could declare: "The words of a talebearer are like tasty trifles, and they go down into the inmost body" (Proverbs 26:22). In general, it is believed that the most gossipy subjects are those who have an unsatisfactory life on an emotional level. In these cases, backbiting becomes an opportunity to compensate for other shortcomings, as well as to give vent to resentment. How sad.

David was well aware of singing: "Keep your tongue from evil, and your lips from speaking deceit" (Psalm 34:13). And it is precisely the Psalms that provide us with the greatest number of indications on the use of the tongue, the same one we use to pronounce praises to our God, but which unfortunately sometimes becomes a sharp razor (52:2), a sword or a bow that fires bitter arrows (64:3). I make mine and share the psalmist's exhortation: "I will guard my ways, lest I sin with my tongue; I will restrain my mouth with a muzzle, while the wicked are before me" (39:1). Even when you may have the slightest reason to strike with your tongue and feel entitled to reply, he remembers that "The mouth of the righteous speaks wisdom, and his tongue talks of justice" (37:30). The apostle Paul advised the Ephesians to speak if only in possession of a word capable of edifying, responding to the need of the interlocutor and able to bestow grace. With this filter how many words should be swallowed or held in the mouth.

May the Lord help us to reach that maturity as soon as possible that allows us to control that little organ that is in our mouth and is capable of great things, our tongue, and which can become a dangerous fire (James 3:5-6). And when we find ourselves listening to gossip, let us not allow ourselves to be caught in his net. To discourage the relaunch, it is advisable to change the subject, or if possible to highlight the positive qualities of the person others speak of. Let's never forget that gossip isn't just annoying, it can hurt a lot. It must be said, however, that there are words and words. Personally I prefer and look for the Words, those capable of stretching a rope, of extending a hand, which manage, warming the heart, not to make you feel alone and forgotten. At least this is the desire that animates the Words I write. Then I hope they are always Words with a capital letter because they draw inspiration solely from the Word of God. "My tongue shall speak of Your word, for all Your commandments are righteousness" (Psalm 119:172).


Weekly Bible Reading

Plan # 23

May 30, 2 Chronicles 10-12; John 11:30-57

May 31, 2 Chronicles 13-14; John 12:1-26

June 01, 2 Chronicles 15-16; John 12:27-50

June 02, 2 Chronicles 17-18; John 13:1-20

June 03, 2 Chronicles 19-20; John 13:21-38

June 04, 2 Chronicles 21-22; John 14

June 05, 2 Chronicles 23-24; John 15

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