Just recently, I was talking to a woman who was looking for a job.
She mentioned various strengths. And then she said something that I don't know if I've ever heard any job hunter say.
She said she doesn't get involved in office gossip.
Wow! I really like that.
In a society where celebrity gossip fills ever-increasing amounts of time on so-called news programs, I think we must be extra vigilant to avoid talk that's downgrading and - if nothing else - a waste of time.
We're so busy in my office that we really don't seem to have much time for outside-of-work-related talk.
That's probably a blessing.
But I know gossip can run rampant in offices and it's hard for even well-meaning people not to become pulled into the fray.
One set of verses has been particularly meaningful to me throughout the years. These scriptures are found in Psalm 1 and they read:
"Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked
or stand in the way of sinners
or sit in the seat of mockers.
But his delight is in the law of the Lord
and on his law he meditates day and night.
He is like a tree planted by streams of water,
which yields its fruit in season
and whose leaf does not wither.
Whatever he does prospers." - Psalm 1:1-3.
A pastor once pointed out some of the action verbs in these lines: walk, sit and stand. We, as Christians, have to make a dedicated effort to avoid the things that can get us into trouble.
It's not easy.
I hate to think about the times I've thoughtlessly opened my mouth - then wish I'd kept it closed. I've apologized and repented to God many times.
I'm so glad that we serve a gracious God who provides us with ever helpful reminders like those words in the first chapter of Psalms.
And he doesn't just say not to sit in the seat of mockers (ever been at a lunch with people who are cutting down someone who isn't there?), he provides us with something good to think about.
He talks about meditating on the law day and night and shows how beneficial it is to do so.
It's a lot harder to think something bad about someone if you're meditating about the goodness of God.
We're less likely to say something negative if our minds have been filled with thoughts of gratitude toward our Lord and the marvelous things he's done - and continues to do for us.
This seems to be a lesson that I never stop learning, but I love God and want to do better.
O Lord, please help me to become the servant that you want me to be. In Jesus' precious name I pray. Amen.