Tuesday, January 13, 2015

The Power of the Tiny

I am small... by myself, I am insignificant, unnoticeable, powerless... but when you put me with others like, or similar to me, I can hold the power of life and death.

Think for a minute about the power of the tiny... a small seed grows into a giant oak tree... a raindrop by itself cannot water a flower, but trillions of raindrops can flood and destroy the very things that need it for life... A snowflake is harmless, but billions of snowflakes can become an avalanche and cause massive destruction... I could go on an on, all around us the tiny, the insignificant have great power and the tremendous potential for destruction when combined with each other.

So now, think about a letter... by itself, harmless (except for maybe the letter I, it has plenty of destructive power on its own)... but back to my thought... letters form words, words form sentences and sentences can change lives. Proverbs 18:21 says, "Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruits."

Words have power... think of the gossip, the bully, the words most of us have probably spoken in anger and wished we could somehow stuff back into our mouths. Words can be like a sword, when thrust into the heart of another, they can cause tremendous damage. Healing can come, but rarely is the scar completely wiped away.

Recently I have watched the destruction of gossip and my heart is deeply convicted of the times when I know I have gossiped or listened to gossip. My wise friend said, "Gossip is power." Funny, but it made me think of the candy Pop Rocks.

Pop rocks are tiny pieces of sugar and corn syrup infused with carbon dioxide and when you put them in your mouth, they explode. They're fun for a minute, you might even think they taste good, but to continue the enjoyment, you have to keep putting them in your mouth.

Gossip (and bullying) are like Pop Rocks... it's fun, it's powerful because the gossiper knows something that others don't, but it only lasts for a moment and to feed the enjoyment and power of it, you have to keep doing it. (Thankfully Pop Rocks can't hurt us or our kids, I ate a ton of them growing up!)

But gossip can hurt. It betrays trust. It can bring pain to another who is probably already hurting. There is nothing... NOTHING... beneficial about gossip. I don't think all gossip is malicious, I do think sometimes we share something out of concern, but no matter what the motivation, gossip can cause great harm.

In 2015, I resolve to be careful of my words. If it's not my story to share, then I won't talk about it unless I have permission. That's the easier part (Keeping my mouth closed)... but I also resolve to not listen to gossip (that's where I'll need the courage to stand up and call it what it is). And if you hear me starting to gossip, please call me on it! The satisfaction those few moments might bring are just not worth the sour taste that gets left in my mouth and it's DEFINITELY not worth the pain I have seen it cause another.

And just so I could be sure I understood what gossip is, here is a definition from Merriam-Webster online, "Information about the behavior and personal lives of other people."  Pretty simple and it's definitely things I have NO business talking about.

Proverbs 16:24, "Gracious words are like honeycomb, sweetness to the soul and health to the body." May my words be seasoned with grace this year.

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