A Gossiping God

Stop trying to protect, to rescue, to judge, to manage the lives around you. Remember that the lives of others are not your business. They are their business. They are God’s business. Even your own life is not your business. It also is God’s business. Leave it to God. It is an astonishing thought. It can become a life-transforming thought . . . unclench the fists of your spirit and take it easy. ~ Frederick Beuchner

Now here’s a challenging concept. Not only is your business none of my business, my business is none of my business, too.

These are two equally difficult lessons to learn: holding my tongue and unclenching my fists.

Several years ago I read a wonderful book Don’t Take My Grief Away by Doug Manning. He recounts the variety of responses others had to his personal grief.

People alternately insisted on correcting, rescuing, managing and judging him. In particular, he was grieved by those who were keen on telling him what God wanted him to do; how God wanted him to conduct himself.

The reply of this faithful, weary soul to those who claimed to speak for God,was something like this:

Did God indeed tell you that about me? He hasn’t said a word to me about it. If God is talking to you about me behind my back, then He needs to stop gossiping.

Your life, my life, it’s all God’s business. God grant me the grace to know when to hold my tongue and when I need to unclench my fists.

Author: Debbie

A former counselor and public speaker, I'm grateful for many, many things - God's grace most of all!

68 thoughts on “A Gossiping God”

  1. Hi Debbie, WELCOME to my blog. I am honored by your subscription to follow it. I hope you are encouraged, inspired and like the photos I post. I look forward to sharing post and comments with you in the future.

    BE ENCOURAGED! BE BLESSED!

  2. This is such a powerful post, I’m almost without words. Thank you so much for sharing this inspired message.

    I wrote a post called “‘The Lord Told me to’ and other Sad Excuses for Holiday Heartlessness” that might speak to you. It’s protected, but the password is “mother,” if you are interested.

    http://reinventingtheeventhorizon.wordpress.com/2011/12/09/the-lord-told-me-to-and-other-sad-excuses-for-holiday-heartlessness/

    Hugs,
    Kathy

  3. Wandered here from Cecelia’s blog and I’m glad I did.
    this reminds me of the child psychologist and church elder who told me my son had Schizophrenia because we didn’t make him go to church!
    I love this response about God needing to stop gossiping! heh heh. that should slow a few people down.
    I’m often amazed at what people feel they are entitled to have an opinion about!
    walk in beauty.

    1. Hello Jamie – Thank you to you and to Cecelia!
      My internet is barely limping tonight but I’ll be off to visit you if it will grant me my wish.
      ~ Debbie

    1. I’m still reading the responses. This is one of my favorite posts … although it’s hard to pick. Really! Will you believe …. oh humble one??? love to you, dearest. Mel xoxo

    2. Hello cecelia!
      My thanks once again to Linda for connecting us and my heartfelt thanks to you for re-blogging this.
      It’s a bit of a sticky wicket. Thank you for understanding my intent (I just visited your blog and you certainly did). 😀
      Because I have a self-imposed 300 word limit (I think that’s about a 2 minute read for most folks) I don’t try to cover all contingencies. Hopefully, there’s just enough here to be a conversation starter.
      Once again, welcome to TMG and thank you,
      Warmly,
      ~ Debbie

    1. Thank you, Linda. It means so much to me that you found some encouragement here. I no longer have a copy of Doug’s book but I’ve never forgotten his words.
      ~ Debbie

  4. This is a much needed post. If I were on Facebook, I would post there. Lately, I have had so many well meaning family and friends telling me what I should and should not do; none have mentioned God in the equation. I don’t know what I need to do so I wait to hear.

    Thank you…I feel that saying thank you is inadequate…

    1. Linda –
      I’m always amazed at the clarity we seem to think we have into the hidden hearts and lives of others.
      I’ll be praying for you in the waiting.
      Take care, dear friend,
      ~ Debbie

    1. judi – reshaping… yes…
      Some days I’m putty in His hands, but some day’s I’m stiff-necked. You’re so right, He’s the only one with ‘real’ control. Mine, if I demand it, is just an illusion.
      grace to you,
      Debbie

  5. Listening to others can really mess up your life by making decisions that other people view as better for you. Listening to God can break down barriers and allow you to be the person He created you to be. How does anyone else know what plan God has for your life? We often drift from job to job because we cannot find satisfaction. When we get to a job, in a new relationship, or begin to volunteer and we feel good about it and you feel God saying ‘yes, it is good,’ do not listen to naysayers who may, for selfish reasons of their own, want you to pursue a different path…one more pleasing to THEM! LISTEN TO GOD, His way is the best way.

    1. Hello Lisa – Thank you for sharing with us here at TMG.
      It’s so easy to get swept away in the tide of tongues that we lose our way all together – you’re so very right.
      ~ Debbie

  6. Well, I had a reply all ready, but read the “priest” comment and all I can do is laugh. 😀
    Let’s see–oh yes–I was going to tell about my brother whose wife of 23 years left him for no reason and the rest of the family is telling him to get over her. Just like that. Whew. I think he could use a comeback like: Let go of my life and get ahold of your tongue!
    I’ve actually experienced someone telling me she had heard from God about my life. I’d had a miscarriage and she told me God knew the baby had a birth defect and He also knew I would not have the love it would take to raise it, so He took it home early. Fun stinger to remove from under my skin while still in recovery don’t you think? She needed to let go of my life and . . .
    I shall try hard to remember this one. We often are judging and do not realize it, even when we try to say nice things, and we should just listen instead.
    And hug.

    1. kathaine –
      I was 4 1/.2 months when I lost my 3rd baby. I was heartbroken. There were probably more hurtful, if ‘well intended’ things said to me then than at any other time.
      Oh yes, listen more, hug more, talk a whole lot less.
      I’ll try to practice what I’m preaching!
      ~ Debbie

      1. Somehow that does not surprise me, Debbie–you’ve got that gentle wisdom thing going, you know. And you don’t hardly need a collar–you’ve got you a trailer hitch! Love to you, Sis Caddo (shining bright)

  7. All I can say is I love you for this. Have you considered ministry… Maybe not at church … Maybe in Chicago :-)/ Denver!!! Even well-meaning people should perhaps “know better” than to assume what is right for others. Amen and Women … Love, Mel

    1. dear melis – did I tell you that I took the MMPI (Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory) twice in college and both times the results indicated that I should be a Catholic priest. 😀
      I must have forgotten to put a check mark on a box somewhere!
      Thank you, dear heart,
      ~ Debbie

      1. Female??? box. ugh. Things SHOULD change … however … not up for the Catholic wall today 😉 xoxox m

  8. Hi Debbie,my first visit here from Pastor J’s and I did enjoy this post so very much very well done with a hint of humor, I wonder why we tend to want to fix others,when we can’t even fix ourselves LOL!

    1. Hello Pat and welcome to TMG! Pastor J is a gem, isn’t he?
      I’m so glad you understood my heart here – a bit of ironic humor.
      God is so good at what He does, I’m not sure why I seem to think He needs my direction quite so much? 😉
      I hope you’ll stop by another time and I’ll be dropping by to see what you’ve been thinking about!
      Warmly,
      ~ Debbie

    1. Dear Susie – He’ll have to be helping us both – and I’m certain He wants to. We just have to let Him! We can say a prayer for each other!
      love and grace,
      ~ Debbie

      1. Thaks Debbie
        You are in my prayers and I would appreciate any prayers given – He certainly is helping and remember where “two or more” are gathered
        God Bless

  9. Debbie,
    Wow! Where was that quote when I needed it? The thought that my life is also God’s business and not my own is one that I’ll be noodling over for days.
    –SueBE

    1. Dear SueBE –
      So funny that you would choose the word noodling!
      Only a writer would think of it! 😀
      I was watching the Okie Noodling Tournament on the History Channel the other day. Have you seen it?
      You hold your breath underwater (very muddy water) and stick your hand in a hole, hoping a catfish will bite it (big 40-50-60 lb catfish).
      It hurts, but to win the tournament, you have to open up your hand to win the prize. You can’t catch a catfish or grace, with a clenched fist. 😀
      Thanks for being here, my friend,
      ~ Debbie

  10. Man’s spirit of control is the flesh version of God’s Spirit of self-control don’t you think Deb? So easy for me to tell others what to do rather than keep my yap shut and listen them through a trial.

    1. Oh dear jelillie –
      I do so wish I could visit your church. What a unique atmosphere of love and grace must reside there!
      I think it is actually a lot about control – more than most of us would like to admit. The more a person insists on controlling all the dimensions of their own life, the more likely they (we) are to try to control varying aspects of others.
      If even my business is God’s business, I’d better pay more attention to His and less to mine and yours! 😉
      ~ Debbie

  11. Excellent and thought provoking my friend. Do not hold your tongue when spreading the love of Christ though, and there actions can speak for you. I fell out with churches and ministers years ago. God speaks to each of us in a way we understand.

    1. Hello Cromwellshead!
      So lovely to see you. And you’re absolutely right. Hopefully when I’m talking about God, I’m sharing the love of Christ and acting in a way that’s consistent with what I’m professing. it’s all a sham otherwise, isn’t it?
      And thank you for adding that God speaks to each of us in a way we understand. We seem so set on insisting that He speak to our very unique selves in exactly the same way. Odd and sad, but true.
      ~ Debbie

      1. I have to chime in with another AMEN, here. I would still be entirely lost, if God did not speak to me individually and personally–He never screams at me, or is mean and harsh. He always starts His sentences with, “Child, I know your heart–” and then goes on with whatever He needs to tell me. It works for me–I listen so much better, that way.

  12. Oh gracious one . . .thank you! Not only can it help me when others are all up in my business, but it will help me when I think I need to be up in theirs! This came to me as I read your words . . .I have to unclench my fists in order to hold my tongue. 😉
    God bless you and the grace that you find and share with us. love you! – the other deb

    1. Dearest Deb – I love that! So well put: “I have to unclench my fists in order to hold my tongue.” Not only is that true but it makes a GREAT word picture! 😉
      Thanks dear friend! You’ve made me smile while thinking! I tend to have an overly serious thinking face! 😀
      ~ Debbie

      1. Yes, I must agree with both my Debbie sisters–excellent word and visual, “unclench my fists, in order to hold my tongue”. I’m thinking that would be good printed out and taped where I can see it frequently. Thanks to you both, always, for being the best sisters in the world–I am blessed to overflowing–what a Great Father God we have!

    1. Dear Jen –
      I think I’m rather in the minority in most Christian circles on this one.
      Just sharing my opinion (and hopefully, I’m accurately representing the men I quoted).
      Thanks for the love! 😀
      ~ Debbie

  13. Wow….ouch!! Sometimes it is tough to know when to hush up. One thing though I won’t do is to say “God told me this you should do”, or whatever.
    It’s hard enough to hear His voice to me, let alone to anyone else.
    Thought provoking post Debbie, thanks once again.

    Greg

    1. Greg – it’s a difficult area isn’t it? I do benefit from the wise counsel of other’s. I don’t benefit from those who claim to speak for God. Really, how audacious is that?
      The questions:
      1. Am I open to the wisdom of others? (I surely pray that I am)
      2. Am I careful not to presume I’m God’s mouthpiece? (so far from it that it should be laughable, but do I always remember that?)
      3. Does a clinched fist lead to a battle with God? (I think so)
      You’re so right, my friend, it’s hard enough to hear His voice to me. Seems like a fine place to concentrate.
      Thanks for once again, adding to the discussion here,
      ~ Debbie

      1. I have been guilty of saying I think this “might ” be what God wants of you, but not very often, and only with someone I know very well. Even then I’m very leary of saying anything like that.
        You make very good points here, thanks!

  14. I LIKE this!! God gossiping–what a concept!! Now I have a clever response when folks try that tactic… God bless you, Debbie! Love, your Caddo sis

    1. Hello Caddo!
      I rather expected to be called on the carpet for this one (and not a red carpet either). 😉
      I read Doug’s book when I was in the midst of grief and was coming under fire for not “getting over it” in a timely way.
      Adding Buechner’s encouragement to Manning’s thoughts really was a turning point for me.
      Thanks, Sis!
      ~ Debbie

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