It is freezing outside. This Florida girl is having a hard time staying warm. I'm talking, 10˚ and Antarctica-cold windchill freezing. I had to get gas in my car today, and it was SO cold waiting for the tank to fill my hands are still red and icy cold. I had to break open some Hot Hands yesterday even though I was doing all indoor activities, that's how hard a time I have warming up my cold fingers. Cold hands = warm heart, right? We've had several snow and cold days, and while that's a tad miserable for people like me who have a hard time staying warm, it does mean I've had more time for reading.
I often will have a fiction book and a nonfiction book that I read at the same time. Typically I'll read a chapter a day from the nonfiction book and considerably more of the fiction book. This time, however, I got so involved in the nonfiction book, I had to put the fiction book down for a day and half until I finished reading the nonfiction one.
The nonfiction book I'm talking about is Resisting Gossip: Winning the War of the Wagging Tongue by Matthew C. Mitchell. I must recommend this book highly. I had bought it a few weeks ago for my Kindle and have put off starting it for a while because I was reading some other things, but I knew I needed (and kind of dreaded) to read this book. Gossip is such an insidious thing, and I really do want to put it to death in my life, and I was so interested when I saw Tim Challies' review of this book, that I bought it right away.
This is a book I need to pull out and read again several times a year. Very convicting, but full of hope and gospel-saturated truth. It got up under my skin and I found myself having to put it down often to examine my heart and cry and repent over what I found there. Quite challenging, but written in a pastoral and loving style that offers hope and encouragement in the best way. I found the section discussing sinful judging versus right judging very helpful and convicting and difficult. How deceitful my heart is! Sometimes it's just so easy to justify a sinfully judgmental heart attitude and gossipy speech, but when you think, really think, about the fact that God hates gossip, it is very important to think and act biblically about this topic. As the author points out, all speech is heart speech, meaning that out of the heart our mouths speak.
I've been thinking quite a bit today about how gossip doesn't just start when we're tempted to share something we shouldn't. It starts way back with what we allow our hearts and minds to dwell on and think about long before the temptation to gossip presents itself. It's a heart issue.
I am glad I read this book. I knew I needed to, but I didn't realize just how much. I prayed before reading it that I would honestly listen and look at my life and habits as I read it. Like I said, I think this is a book I will ponder for a long time and would do well to read more than once as time goes on.