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Speaking

 

Gossip

Christians don’t gossip. They just share prayer requests! ── Michael P. GreenIllustrations for Biblical Preaching

 

Gossip

The difference between news and gossip lies in whether you raise your voice or lower it. ── Michael P. GreenIllustrations for Biblical Preaching

 

Gossip

John Dryden, a seventeenth-century british dramatist and poet, once commented on man’s propensity to gossip:

        There is a lust in man no charm can tame,

        Of loudly publishing his neighbor’s shame.

        Hence, on eagles’ wings immortal scandals fly,

        While virtuous actions are but born and die.

── Michael P. GreenIllustrations for Biblical Preaching

 

Gossip

In King Henry IV, Shakespeare observed:

        Rumor is a pipe

        Blown by surmises, jealousies, conjectures,

        And of so easy and so plain a stop

        That the blunt monster with uncounted heads,

        The still-discordant wavering multitude,

        Can play upon it.

And how certain Christians can play that pipe! ── Michael P. GreenIllustrations for Biblical Preaching

 

Lying

He said likewise

        That a lie which is half a truth is ever the blackest of lies,

        That a lie which is all a lie may be met and fought with outright,

        But a lie which is part a truth is a harder matter to fight.— Alfred, Lord Tennyson

 

Silence

One of the lessons of history is that nothing is often a good thing to do and always a clever thing to say. ── Michael P. GreenIllustrations for Biblical Preaching

 

Speaking

Blessed are they who have nothing to say and cannot be persuaded to say it.— James Russell Lowell

 

Speaking

The six most important words: “I admit I made a mistake.”

        The five most important words: “You did a good job.”

        The four most important words: “What is your opinion?”

        The three most important words: “If you please.”

        The two most important words: “Thank you.”

        The most important word: “We”.

        The least important word: “I”.

── Michael P. GreenIllustrations for Biblical Preaching

 

Tongue

        I said a very naughty word only the other day.

        It was a truly naughty word I had not meant to say.

        Bu then, it was not really lost, when from my lips it flew;

        My little brother picked it up, and now he says it too.

── Michael P. GreenIllustrations for Biblical Preaching

 

Control of Tongue

        If your lips you would keep from slips,

        Five things observe with care:

        To whom you speak; of whom you speak;

        And how, and when, and where.— William Norris

 

WORDS

Of the 800,000  words in the English language. 300,000 are technical terms.

The average person knows 10,000 words and uses 5,000 in everyday speech. A journalist knows approximately 15,000 and uses around 10,000.

Source Unknown.

 

BOASTING

According to a story in the Grand Rapids Press, the owner of a small foreign car had begun to irritate his friends by bragging incessantly about his gas mileage. So they decided on a way to get some humor out of his tireless boasting, as well as bring it to an end. Every day one of them would sneak into the parking lot where the man kept his car and pour a few gallons of gas into the tank. Soon the braggart was recording absolutely phenomenal mileage. He was boasting of getting as much as 90 miles per gallon, and the pranksters took secret delight in his exasperation as he tried to convince people of the truthfulness of his claims. It was even more fun to watch his reaction when they stopped refilling the tank. The poor fellow couldn't figure out what had happened to his car.

Grand Rapids Press.


A sightseeing bus was making the rounds through Washington, D.C., and the driver was pointing out spots of interest. As they passed the Pentagon building, he mentioned that it cost taxpayers millions of dollars and that it took a year and a half to build. While everyone was looking at it, a little old woman piped up: "In Peoria we could have built the same building for less, and it would have been completed even sooner than that!" The next sight on the tour was the Justice Department building. Once again the bus driver said that it cost so many millions to build and took almost two years to complete. The woman repeated: "In Peoria we would have done it for less money, and it would have been finished much sooner." The tour finally came to the Washington Monument, and the driver just passed slowly by without saying a word. The old woman was curious. "Hey," she shouted to the driver, "what's that tall white building back there?" The driver looked out the window, waited a minute and then said, "Search me, lady. It wasn't there yesterday."

Source Unknown.

 

GOSSIP

Winston Churchill exemplified integrity and respect in the face of opposition. During his last year in office, he attended an official ceremony. Several rows behind him two gentlemen began whispering. "That's Winston Churchill." "They say he is getting senile." "They say he should step aside and leave the running of the nation to more dynamic and capable men." When the ceremony was over, Churchill turned to the men and said, "Gentlemen, they also say he is deaf!"

Barbara Hatcher, Vital Speeches, March 1, 1987.


Many years ago the Moody Church News carried a humorous story about a woman in a small town who was know for being a gossip. One day on vacation she visited the offices of The Chicago Daily News. She was wearing a white dress and inadvertently leaned against a wall where a freshly printed copy of the front page was hanging. It was a hot, humid day, and some of the print came off on the back of her white dress.

Later, as she walked down the street to meet her husband, she noticed that people walking behind her were snickering. When she reached the place where her husband was waiting, she asked him if there was anything on her back that shouldn't be there. As she turned around, he read the large black reversed letters: sweN ylaiD. Realizing the appropriateness of the words, he said, "No, dear, nothing's on your back that doesn't belong there."

Our Daily Bread, June 23, 1994.


Four preachers met for a friendly gathering. During the conversation one preacher said, "Our people come to us and pour out their hears, confess certain sins and needs. Let's do the same. Confession is good for the soul." In due time all agreed. One confessed he liked to go to movies and would sneak off when away from his church. The second confessed to liking to smoke cigars and the third one confessed to liking to play cards. When it came to the fourth one, he wouldn't confess. The others pressed him saying, "Come now, we confessed ours. What is your secret or vice?" Finally he answered, "It is gossiping and I can hardly wait to get out of here."

Christopher News Notes, June 1992.


In 1887 the coffin of Abraham Lincoln was pried open to determine if it contained his body. What makes that act so remarkable is the fact that Lincoln's body had rested in that coffin for 22 years. Yet, even more amazing is that 14 years later a rumor circulated again that Lincoln's coffin was actually empty. The furor so gripped the land that the only way to silence it was to dig up the coffin--again. This was done and the rumor silenced when a handful of witnesses viewed the lifeless body of Abraham Lincoln.

Today in the Word, February, 1991, p. 27.


I once formed a mutual encouragement fellowship at a time of stress in one of my pastorates. The members subscribed to a simple formula applied before speaking of any person or subject that was perhaps controversial.

T--Is it true?
H--Is it helpful?
I--Is it inspiring?
N--Is it necessary?
K--Is it kind?

If what I am about to say does not pass those tests, I will keep my mouth shut! And it worked!

Alan Redpath, A Passion for Preaching.


Some people will believe anything if it is whispered to them.

Pierre de Marivaux.


Gossip is the most deadly microbe. It has neither legs nor wings. It is composed entirely of tales, and most of them have stings.

Morris Mandel in Bits & Pieces, June, 1990, p. 22.


So live that you wouldn't be ashamed to sell the family parrot to the town gossip.

Will Rogers.


If you don't say it, they can't repeat it. Yiddish folklore offers a telling tale about gossip-makers. One such man had told so many malicious untruths about the local rabbi that, overcome by remorse, he begged the rabbi to forgive him. "And, Rabbi, tell me how I can make amends." The rabbi sighed, "Take two pillows, go to the public square and there cut the pillows open. Wave them in the air. Then come back." The rumormonger quickly went home, got two pillows and a knife, hastened to the square, cut the pillows open, waved them in the air and hastened back to the rabbi's chambers. "I did just what you said, Rabbi!" "Good." The rabbi smiled. "Now, to realize how much harm is done by gossip, go back to the square..." "And?" "And collect all your feathers."

From Hooray for Yiddish.


Poetry

In the course of your conversation each and every day,
Think twice, try to be careful of what you have to say;
Your remarks may be picked up by someone's listening ear,
You may be surprised at what some people think they hear.
Things that you innocently say, or try to portray,
Can be changed, and greatly exaggerated along the way;
Many stories change for the worse as they are retold.
So try to keep any questionable remarks "on hold."
May I give all of you some very sound advice?
When you speak of others, say something nice;
Try to say good things, regardless of who is around,
If you have nothing good to say, don't utter a sound.
You may find that an innocent remark, in the end,
May lose you a close and valued friend.

Henry Lesser, Teamwork, Darnell Corporation.


Have you heard of the terrible family They,
And the dreadful venomous things They say?
Why, half the gossip under the sun,
If you trace it back, you will find begun
In that wretched House of They.

Ellen Wilcox Wheeler.

 

SPEECH

Kondraty Ryleyev was sentenced to be hanged for his part in an unsuccessful uprising against the Russian czar Nicholas I in December 1825. But the rope broke and Ryleyev, bruised and battered, fell to the ground, got up, and said, "In Russia they do not know how to do anything properly, not even how to make a rope." An accident of this sort usually resulted in a pardon, so a messenger was sent to the czar to know his pleasure. Nicholas asked, "What did he say?"

"Sire, he said that in Russia they do not even know how to make a rope properly."
"Well, let the contrary be proved," said the czar.

Today in the Word, March 13, 1993.


In 1887 the coffin of Abraham Lincoln was pried open to determine if it contained his body. What makes that act so remarkable is the fact that Lincoln's body had rested in that coffin for 22 years. Yet, even more amazing is that 14 years later a rumor circulated again that Lincoln's coffin was actually empty. The furor so gripped the land that the only way to silence it was to dig up the coffin--again. This was done and the rumor silenced when a handful of witnesses viewed the lifeless body of Abraham Lincoln.

Today in the Word, February, 1991, p. 27.


Talk is cheap because the supply always exceeds the demand. One of the lessons of history is that nothing is often a good thing to do and always a clever thing to say.

Will Durant.


Because a woman's vocal cords are shorter than a man's she can actually speak with less effort than he can. Shorter vocal cords not only cause a woman's voice to be more highly pitched, but also require less air to become agitated, making it possible for her to talk more with less energy expended.

Sparks, quoted in Homemade, Dec., 1984.


Several years ago a professor at the University of Pennsylvania was know for giving boring, clich?ridden lectures. At the beginning of one semester, an innovative class breathed new life into his course by assigning baseball plays to each hackneyed phrase. For example, "on the other hand" was a base hit; "by the same token" was a strikeout; "and so on" was a stolen base. Divided into two teams by the center aisle of the lecture hall, the students throughout the term played inning after inning of silent but vigorous baseball. On the last day of class, the impossible happened -- the score was tied, the bases were loaded and the batter hit a home run! The winning team stood and cheered wildly. Though deeply appreciative, the professor was quoted later as having wondered why only one-half of the students had been enthusiastic about his lectures.

Louis De V. Day, Jr., in Pennomena, Reader's Digest, April 1981.


Aesop, the ancient storyteller, told this fable: Once upon a time, a donkey found a lion's skin. He tried it on, strutted around, and frightened many animals. Soon a fox came along, and the donkey tried to scare him, too. But the fox, hearing the donkey's voice, said, "If you want to terrify me, you'll have to disguise your bray." Aesop's moral: Clothes may disguise a fool, but his words will give him away.

Traditional.


Can it be that the average person spends one-fifth of his or her life talking? That's what the statistics say. If all of our words were put into print, the result would be this: a single day's words would fill a 50-page book, while in a year's time the average person's words would fill 132 books of 200 pages each! Among all those words there are bound to be some spoken in anger, carelessness, or haste.

Today in the Word, June 15, 1992.


Pianist Artur Rubenstein, loquacious in eight languages, once told this story on himself: Some years ago he was assailed by a stubborn case of hoarseness. The newspapers were full of reports about smoking and cancer; so he decided to consult a throat specialist. "I searched his face for a clue during the 30 minute examination," Rubenstein said, "but it was expressionless. He told me to come back the next day. I went home full of fears, and I didn't sleep that night." The next day there was another long examination and again an ominous silence. "Tell me," the pianist exclaimed. "I can stand the truth. I've lived a full, rich life. What's wrong with me?" The physician said, "You talk too much."

Bits & Pieces, January, 1990, p. 15.


A turtle lays thousands of eggs without anyone knowing, but when the hen lays an egg, the whole country is informed.

Malayan proverb.


Preventive tactics -- or things you should never say once without thinking twice:

- It's no trouble at all.
- I love dogs.
- We have plenty of room.
- Call me any time.
- Is there anything I can do?
- My husband is a doctor/lawyer/accountant.
- I'll try anything once.
- Of course, bring the kids.
- Why don't you stay for dinner?
- If worst comes to worst, you can use mine.
- Don't worry -- there's more where that came from.
- Over my dead body, you will!

Hester Mundis, Powermom, Congdon & Weed.


Some choice thoughts about the Tongue:

About Abrasive Speech
Many a blunt word has a sharp edge.
Keep your words soft and sweet; you never know when you may have to eat them.

About Gossip
Gossip is like soap -- mostly lye!
A gossip is just a fool with a keen sense of rumor.

About Profanity
Profanity is a public announcement of stupidity.
Swearing is a lax man's way of trying to be emphatic.

About telling the Truth
A lie is a coward's way of getting out of trouble.
Truth is as clear as a bell, but it isn't always tolled.

About Boasting
When you sing your own praise, you always get the tune too high.
Don't brag; it isn't the whistle that pulls the train.

For in many things we stumble. If any man offend not in word, the same is a perfect man, and able also to bridle the whole body. James 3:2

Our Daily Bread.


If you don't say it -- they can't repeat it.

Wilbur C. Munnecke, quoted by Ann Landers.


Lou Gehrig was once hired by a breakfast-cereal company to promote a cereal named "Huskies," but when the radio interviewer asked Lou what he attributed his strength and stamina to, he quickly answered, "Wheaties."

Unknown.


Here is some traditional wisdom about speech and the tongue:

It would be better to leave people wondering why you didn't talk than why you did.
First law of public speaking: Nice guys finish fast.
When all is said and done, there's a lot more said than done.
Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to open your mouth and remove all doubt.

Traditional.


Blessed are they who have nothing to say, and who cannot be persuaded to say it.

James Russell Lowell.


Look wise, say nothing, and grunt. Speech was given to conceal thought.

William Osler.


If you don't say anything, you won't be called on to repeat it.

Calvin Coolidge.


If you have an important point to make, don't try to be subtle or clever. Use a pile-driver. Hit the point once. Then come back and hit it again. Then hit it a third time -- a tremendous whack!

Winston Churchill.


Sometimes the difference between a good speaker and a poor speaker is a comfortable nap.

O.A. Battista.


I have never been hurt by anything I didn't say.

Calvin Coolidge.


If someone paid you ten cents for every kind word you said about people, and collected five cents for every unkind word, would you be rich or poor?

Henry N. Ferguson.


Winston Churchill exemplified integrity and respect in the face of opposition. During his last year in office, he attended an official ceremony. Several rows behind him two gentlemen began whispering. "That's Winston Churchill." "They say he is getting senile." "They say he should step aside and leave the running of the nation to more dynamic and capable men." When the ceremony was over, Churchill turned to the men and said, "Gentlemen, they also say he is deaf!"

Barbara Hatcher, Vital Speeches, March 1, 1987.


The difference between a successful career and a mediocre one sometimes consists of leaving about four or five things a day unsaid.

Bits & Pieces, January, 1990, p. 15.


Some people can overwhelm you with a dazzling vocabulary complete with the latest jargon and in-talk. The glib speaker may not know what he's talking about...but it sounds so "right"! Take heart, you, too, can get into the act with your own instant overblown vocabulary.

An "Instant Buzzword Generator" has been developed to give you an impressive lingo that's bound to impress. Through use of this device, you simple select any word from each column below and use them in consecutive sequence. Thus 1, 4, 1 would be "total digital flexibility." Sounds impressive, doesn't it? Just think how your conversation will suddenly confuse everyone! People will conclude that because you're incomprehensible, you're profound. Clip the "Instant Buzzword Generator" and keep it ready for use.

Instant Buzzword Generator

Column 1 Column 2 Column 3

0. Integrated 0. Management 0. Options

1. Total 1. Organizational 1. Flexibility

2. Systematized 2. Monitored 2. Compatibility

3. Parallel 3. Reciprocal 3. Mobility

4. Functional 4. Digital 4. Programming

5. Responsive 5. Logic 5. Concept

6. Optical 6. Transitional 6. Time phase

7. Synchronized 7. Incremental 7. Projection

8. compatible 8. Third generation 8. Hardware

9. Balanced 9. Policy 9. Contingency

Unknown.


Casey Stengel was a longtime major league baseball manager whose unique way with the English language became known as "Stengelese." He once said, "I've always heard that it couldn't be done, but sometimes it don't always work." That's typical Stengelese.

Casey held a position on the board of directors for a California bank. According to a story that originally appeared in the Wall Street Journal, Casey described his duties this way: "There ain't nuthin' to it. You go into the fancy meeting room and you just sit there and never open your yap. As long as you don't say nuthin' they don't know whether you're smart or dumb."

Daily Bread, June 5, 1992.


The Karankawa Indians, who used to inhabit the lower Gulf plains of Texas and Mexico, met their demise in the middle of the Texas Revolution in 1836. It seems that Captain Philip Dimmit, who owned a ranch north of present-day Corpus Christi, used to give the Karankawas beef whenever they were in the area. At the outbreak of the Revolution, however, Dimmit left his ranch to serve with the Texans. In Dimmit's absence, the Indians rounded up a few cattle. As they ate the beef, a party of Mexican soldiers rode up and demanded to know what they were doing. "We are Captain Dimmit's friends," the Karankawas replied. When the Mexicans heard this they attacked, killing many and causing the rest to flee. The remaining Karankawas later met a party of Texans. Fearing another assault, the Indians began shouting, "Viva Mexico!" Immediately the Texans attacked, and only a few of the hapless Karankawas escaped.

Today in the Word, August 30, 1992.


Lengthy Illustrations

Recently, I heard a touching story which illustrates the power that words have to change a life -- a power that lies right in the hands of those reading this article.

Mary had grown up knowing that she was different from the other kids, and she hated it. She was born with a cleft palate and had to bear the jokes and stares of cruel children who teased her non-stop about her misshaped lip, crooked nose, and garbled speech.

With all the teasing, Mary grew up hating the fact that she was "different". She was convinced that no one, outside her family, could ever love her ... until she entered Mrs. Leonard's class. Mrs. Leonard had a warm smile, a round face, and shiny brown hair. While everyone in her class liked her, Mary came to love Mrs. Leonard.

In the 1950's, it was common for teachers to give their children an annual hearing test. However, in Mary's case, in addition to her cleft palate, she was barely able to hear out of one ear. Determined not to let the other children have another "difference" to point out, she would cheat on the test each year. The "whisper test" was given by having a child walk to the classroom door, turn sideways, close one ear with a finger, and then repeat something which the teacher whispered.

Mary turned her bad ear towards her teacher and pretended to cover her good ear. She knew that teachers would often say things like, "The sky is blue," or "What color are your shoes?" But not on that day. Surely, God put seven words in Mrs. Leonard's mouth that changed Mary's life forever. When the "Whisper test" came, Mary heard the words: "I wish you were my little girl."

Dads, I wish there was some way that I could communicate to you the incredible blessing which affirming words impart to children. I wish, too, that you could sit in my office, when I counsel, and hear the terrible damage that individuals received from not hearing affirming words -- particularly affirming words from a father. While words from a godly teacher can melt a heart, words from a father can powerfully set the course of a life.

If affirming words were something rarely spoken in your home growing up, let me give you some tips on words and phrases that can brighten your own child's eyes and life. These words are easy to say to any child who comes into your life.

I'm proud of you, Way to go, Bingo ... you did it, Magnificent, I knew you could do it, What a good helper, You're very special to me, I trust you, What a treasure, Hurray for you, Beautiful work, You're a real trooper, Well done, That's so creative, You make my day, You're a joy, Give me a big hug, You're such a good listener, You figured it out, I love you, You're so responsible, You remembered, You're the best, You sure tried hard, I've got to hand it to you, I couldn't be prouder of you, You light up my day, I'm praying for you, You're wonderful, I'm behind you, You're so kind to your (brother/sister), You're God's special gift, I'm here for you.

John Trent, Ph.D., Vice President of Today's Family, Men of Action, Winter 1993, p. 5.


Unfortunately, that is not very often how it works. The accusatory rhetoric at the United Nations is not all that different in tone from the way Christians argue with each other. Here is an example from the seventeenth century, when the

Puritans and the Quakers were engaged in angry debates: The great Puritan preacher Richard Baxter wrote a pamphlet in which he lumped the Quakers with "drunkards, swearers, whoremongers, and sensual wretches" and other "miserable creatures." And then -- just in case he had not yet insulted them enough -- he insisted that Quakers are no better than "Papists."

The Quaker leader James Naylor announced that he was compelled "by the Spirit of Jesus Christ" to respond to these harsh accusations. He proceeded to characterize his Puritan opponent as a "Serpent," a "Liar," and "Child of the Devil," a "Cursed Hypocrite," and a "Dumb Dog."

This is strong stuff. What makes it especially sad is that the angry talk often makes it difficult to get to the real issues. The debate between the Puritans and the Quakers was actually a rather interesting and helpful one. Both parties engaged in some serious biblical exposition; if the heavy rhetoric were removed, the discussion could easily appear to have been a friendly argument between Christians who had some important things to talk about. But I doubt that either group heard the helpful things the other side was saying. Too much angry rhetoric was in the air.

Richard J. Mouw, Uncommon Decency, p. 52.


Poetry

A wise old owl lived in an oak
The more he heard, the less he spoke.
The less he spoke, the more he heard,
Why can't we all be like the wise old bird?

Unknown.

 

Flattery

Flattery is like perfume: the idea is to smell it, not to swallow it.

 

Communication

In 1963, Adlai E. Stevenson spoke to the students at Princeton University. “I understand I am here to speak and you are here to listen,” he said. “Let’s hope we both finish at the same time.”

 

Communication

There is a story about a man who wanted to train his mule. The first thing he did was to pick up a big stick and hit the mule a resounding wallop between the ears. As the mule staggered about, someone said to the owner, “What is the matter? Why did you do that?” And the man said, “In order to teach a mule, you must first get his attention.”

         That may not be true of mules, but there is a good deal of truth in it when dealing with humans. For any communication to be effective, interest must first be awakened.

 

Clarity in Communication

If Jesus came to certain theological schools today and asked the professors, “Wnd you, who do you think I am?” what do you think they might reply?

         Some might answer, “You are the eschatological manifestation of the kerygma in which we recognize the ultimate significance of our interpersonal relations.”

         And Jesus would probably say, “What?”

 

Clarity in Communication

”The difference between the right word and the almost-right word is the difference between lightning and the lightning bug.” –Mark Twain

 

Clarity in Communication

A stranger was walking down a residential street and noticed a man struggling with a washing machine at the doorway of his house. When the newcomer volunteered to help, the homeowner was overjoyed,and the two men together began to work and struggle with the bulky appliance. After several minutes of fruitless effort the two stopped and just stared at each other in frustration. They looked as if they were on the verge of total exhaustion.

         Finally, when they had caught their breath, the first man said to the homeowner: “We’ll never get this washing machine in there!” To which the homeowner replied: “In? I’m trying to move it out of here!”

 

Lack of Communication

The story is told of two businessmen, an American and a Frenchman, who met on a transatlantic voyage. As the American was seated for lunch with the Frenchman, the later raised his wine glass and said, “Bon appetit.” To which the smiling American replied, “Johnson.” Since neither spoke the other’s language, no other words were exchanged during the meal. After the same thing happened at dinner, an observant waiter later explained to the American that the Frenchman was saying, “Hope you enjoy your meal.”

        The next day the American sought out the Frenchman to correct his error. After finding him at lunch, at the first opportunity the American raised his glass and said, “Bon appetit.”—to which the Frenchman replied, “Johnson.”

 

Lack of Communication

A department-store clerk was demonstrating the efficiency of a window-cleaning device by smearing margarine of glass and cleaning it off again. Quite impressed, one potential customer asked, “How much margarine do I have to use?”

 

Example of Lying

At a flower shop in rural West Virginia, Campbell's Creek, an isolated mining hollow, the owner is a chap named Bill Grayolis, 41. A while back Mr. Grayolis lost weight and whispers started around town that he had AIDS.  And then there was some graffiti and there were threats, he was labeled a queer, a carrier of AIDS.  Customers that he had known for 20 years stopped coming to his store.  One long time woman customer drove up and stopped and threw her check inside the flower shop but then she returned hastily to her car and

drove away.  Well, that did it.  Mr. Grayolis gave up the diet with which he'd purposely been losing weight.  He got himself blood-tested for AIDS and proved that he does not have the virus.  He posted the medical report on the window of his shop, but the whispers persist.  West Virginia Attorney General says shame on the cruel people of Campbell's Creek, but still the whispers persist. Now his delivery van has been trashed, his windows have been smashed, his business is depleted.  Bill Grayolis does not have AIDS, but he is being destroyed by contagious ignorance.

 

Gossip

        Christians don’t gossip. They just share prayer requests!

 

Gossip

        The difference between news and gossip lies in whether you raise your voice or lower it.

 

Gossip

        The difference between a gossip and a concerned friend is like the difference between a butcher and a surgeon. Both cut the meat, but for different reasons.

 

Gossip

        The television program “60 Minutes” once reported on a widely circulated sensational weekly paper and interviewed people who were buying the paper at grocery store checkout counters. “Do you believe what you read in this paper?” the reporter asked. “No,” came the reply, “but we like to read it anyway.”

        Gossip holds a strange fascination for all of us.

 

Gossip

        Some time ago, Dr. Albert H. Cantril, a professor at Princeton University, conducted a series of experiments to demonstrate how quickly rumors spread. He called six students to his office and in strict confidence informed them that the Duke and Duchess of Windsor were planning to attend a certain university dance. Within a week, this completely fictitious story had reached nearly every student on campus. Town officials phoned the university, demanding to know why they had not been informed. Press agencies were frantically telephoning for details. Dr. Cantril observed, “That was a pleasant rumor—a slanderous one travels even faster.”

 

Gossip

        John Dryden, a seventeenth-century british dramatist and poet, once commented on man’s propensity to gossip:

        There is a lust in man no charm can tame,

        Of loudly publishing his neighbor’s shame.

        Hence, on eagles’ wings immortal scandals fly,

        While virtuous actions are but born and die.

 

Gossip

        In King Henry IV, Shakespeare observed:

        Rumor is a pipe

        Blown by surmises, jealousies, conjectures,

        And of so easy and so plain a stop

        That the blunt monster with uncounted heads,

        The still-discordant wavering multitude,

        Can play upon it.

        And how certain Christians can play that pipe!

 

Gossip

        The story is told of a young man during the Middle Ages who went to a monk, saying, “I’ve sinned by telling slanderous statements about someone. What should I do now?” The monk replied, “Put a feather on every doorstep in town.” The young man did it. He then returned to the monk, wondering if there was anything else that he should do. The monk said, “Go back and pick up all the feathers.” The young man replied, “That’s impossible! By now the wind will have blown them all over town!” Said the monk, “So has you slanderous word become impossible to retrieve.”

 

Lie

        A little lie is like a little pregnancy-it doesn’t take long before everyone knows.—C.S. Lewis

 

Lie

        A lie can travel half way around the world while Truth is still lacing up her boots.—Mark Twain

 

Lying

        A melon farmer’s crop of melons was disappearing fast from his field. Thieves were continually stealing the melons under the cover of night’s darkness. The farmer finally became desperate and in an attempt to save his crop from the vandals he decided to put up a sign.

        The sign had on it a skull and crossbones, and it read: “ONE OF THESE WELONS IS POISONED”-only the farmer knew that it was not true.

        Sure enough, for two nights not a melon was missing. But, after the third night, the farmer noticed that his sign had been altered. Someone had scratched out the word “ONE” and replaced it with another word so that the sign now read: “TWO OF THESE MELONS ARE POISONED.”

        Thinking to save his whole crop through deception, he lost it all, which just goes to illustrate Sir Walter Scott’s observation:

        Oh, what a tangled web we weave,

        When first we practice to deceive!

 

Lying

        He said likewise

        That a lie which is half a truth is ever the blackest of lies,

        That a lie which is all a lie may be met and fought with outright,

        But a lie which is part a truth is a harder matter to fight.—Alfred, Lord Tennyson

 

Lying

        In Mark Twain’s fascinating book about his travels in the West and Hawaii, Roughing It, there is an account of a man, a notorious liar, who was known in the community to be a spinner of tall tales. No one ever believed anything he said. One day they found him hanging dead, with a suicide note pinned on him, written in his own hand, and saying that he had taken his own life. But the coroner’s pronounced it murder. They said that if the man himself said he had taken his own life, it was proof he hadn’t!

 

Silence

        One of the lessons of history is that nothing is often a good thing to do and always a clever thing to say.

 

Speaking

        Blessed are they who have nothing to say and cannot be persuaded to say it.—James Russell Lowell

 

Speaking

        The six most important words: “I admit I made a mistake.”

        The five most important words: “You did a good job.”

        The four most important words: “What is your opinion?”

        The three most important words: “If you please.”

        The two most important words: “Thank you.”

        The most important word: “We”.

        The least important word: “I”.

 

Tongue

        This past year, if someone had paid you ten dollars for every kind word you ever spoke about other people, and also collected five dollars for every unkind word, would you be rich or poor?

 

Tongue

        I said a very naughty word only the other day.

        It was a truly naughty word I had not meant to say.

        Bu then, it was not really lost, when from my lips it flew;

        My little brother picked it up, and now he says it too.

 

Control of Tongue

        On a windswept hill in an English country churchyard stands a drab, gray slate tombstone. The faint etchings read:

        “Beneath this stone, a lump of clay,

        Lies Arabella Young,

        Who, on the twenty-fourth of may,

        Began to hold her tongue.”

 

Control of Tongue

        If your lips you would keep from slips,

        Five things observe with care:

        To whom you speak; of whom you speak;

        And how, and when, and where.—William Norris

 

Control of Tongue

        Some people are too talkative. They are like the young man who supposedly went to the great Greek philosopher Socrates to learn oratory. On being introduced, he talked so incessantly that Socrates asked for double fees. “Why charge me double?” said the young fellow. “Because,” said the orator, “I must teach you two sciences: the one is how to hold your tongue, and the other is how to speak.”

 

Control of Tongue

        A talkative woman once tried to justify the quickness of her own tongue by saying, “It passes; it is done with quickly.” To which the famous evangelist Billy Sunday replied, “So does a shotgun blast.”

        And such is the action of a quick tongue that it also leaves devastation in its wake.

 

Control of Tongue

        A young lady once said to John Wesley, “I think I know what my talent is.”

        Wesley said, “Tell me.”

        She replied, “I think it is to speak my mind.”

        Wesley said, “I do not think God would mind if you bury that talent.”

 

Control of Tongue

        The ancient philosopher Zeno once said, “We have two ears and one mouth, therefore we should listen twice as much as we speak.”

 

Vows

        In the movie Mary Poppins, the two children, Jane and Michael Banks, jumped into bed after their incredible first day with the amazing Mary Poppins. Jane asked, “Mary Poppins, you won’t ever leave us, will you?” Michael, full of excitement, looked at his new nanny and added, “Will you stay if we promise to be good?” Mary looked at the two and as she tucked them in replied, “Look, that’s a pie-crust promise. Easily made, easily broken!”

 

Words

        Karl Marx supposedly said, “Give me twenty-six lead soldiers and I will conquer the world.”—meaning the twenty-six letters of the alphabet on a printing press.

 

Words

        Back in 1675, some nine years after the terrible fire in London, Sir Christopher Wren himself laid the first foundation stone in what was to be his greatest architectural enterprise-the building of St. Paul’s Cathedral. It took him thirty-five long years to complete this task, and when it was done he waited breathlessly for the reaction of her majesty, Queen Anne. After being carefully shown through the structure, she summed up her feelings for the architecture in three words: “It is awful; it is amusing; it is artificial.”

Imagine how you would feel if words like these were used to describe the work of your life! However, Sir Christopher Wren’s biographer said that on hearing these words, he heaved a sigh of relief and bowed gratefully before his sovereign. How could this be? The explanation is simple: In 1710, the word awful meant “awe-inspiring,” the word amusing meant “amazing,” and the word artificial meant “artistic.” What to our ears might sound like a devastating criticism were in that time words of measured praise.

There is no doubt a lesson in that story for those who would quibble over the relative merits of the various Bible versions and translations. Shades of meaning cannot alter what God has revealed in his Word!