Stretching Beyond the Hurt – Guest Post by Diane Karchner

Today, I present guest blogger – Diane Karchner.  Diane is a good friend from the church I attend.  I had the honor of attending a Willow Creek Group Life Conference with Diane several years ago.  During this trip, I learned that Diane was a leader with a lot of wisdom and a lot of humor – two things I love!  Diane blogs at Tilted Words when she’s not busy serving others at work and at church and when she’s not spending time with her husband, Els.  Please stop by Diane’s blog and become a regular follower/reader.  Thanks, Diane, for sharing your stretching story!

(I’d love to hear your STRETCHING story.  Drop me a comment if you’re interested in becoming a guest blogger here.)

Stretching Beyond the Hurt

“If you can’t say something good about someone, sit right here by me.”

Saying on Needlepoint Cushion

That saying made me smile. I bet it made many smile. Because we can just picture the person patting the cushion on the sofa next to her, bidding you to come tell her tales of others. (I used ‘her’ but it could just as easily have been ‘him’!)

I was one of those people for many years. I was actually both – the one patting the cushion next to me – encouraging, imploring, hopeful with anticipation of getting some juicy tidbits – and the other one – willing to let go of confidences, of rumors, hopeful that the wisdom I was about to impart was worthy of being deemed juicy. It gave me power in some cruel, misguided, stupid way.  No matter which end of it I was on.

The gossip machine got turned on me one time. Lies told about me. I didn’t see that person who started them until months later. By that time the sting was gone. The damage repaired. So when I saw her I showed her grace; the kind God would approve. But when in the midst of the pain of it I wanted to retaliate in some way – get in her face, tell a lie about her to get back at her, tell everyone what she had done to me so they would hate her like I did right then. I really did.

Retaliation. An interesting flip side to gossip, don’t you think? Had I retaliated and lashed out, my heart would have been exactly where hers was when she started the rumors. Feeling powerful…a bit vicious…harboring a strong dislike, bordering on hatred…hurt…angry. All those motives fuel either in some way. At some level.

And to be honest, gosh, it sometimes feels pretty good. But feelings are deceiving.

In Philippians it says to think on things that are true, right, good and pure. Hmmmm. I am thinking that gossip and retaliation reflect none of that. In fact, the thoughts in our heads when we do either are pretty far from being true or right or good or pure.

We humans are a vicious bunch. So glad that God is God. So glad he became human for a few decades to show us that we can live without being so human, so vicious. That we can rise above it to feel the love of God, and be secure and rewarded each day by the grace he dumps all over and around us!

For me, right now. I try not to be a giver or receiver of gossip. I try really hard. But every day is a new one, isn’t it? And every day God renews his grace. And every day I need to renew my commitment to think on the things that bring me closer to God and away from some of my naturalness, my humanness. So glad that every day God will give me the strength and grace it takes to do just that!

How are you doing in the gossip and retaliation area?  What steps have you taken to avoid gossip and retaliation?