Help, I’ve been slimed!!
Have you ever been in a conversation when it suddenly turned in a very uncomfortable direction? One that made you cringe, squirm and wonder where to go from there? I remember a time we had a moment like that. We were hanging with some acquaintances having a great meal when suddenly the conversation turned south. We felt stuck. I did my best to navigate honoring their feelings with out participating in the content being shared. In the end I’m not sure if I threw water on the fire or gasoline. David on the other hand sat silent. He didn’t say anything at all. That would have been a great response from me as well. Like I always say, when I grow up I want to be just like David! He’s wise in those moments.
When I left I felt like I’d been slimed. Like I had ooey, gooey, nasty, smelly stuff all over me. I woke up the next morning and the conversation still made me feel icky. I felt like Pig Pen from Charlie Brown, with this cloud of dirt following me for a day or so. And for sure, I didn’t feel as compelled to hang with those people any more.
The real problem was that the spirit of the conversation was off. It wasn’t a Godly spirit. It didn’t speak of whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable — of anything excellent or praiseworthy (Phil 4:8).
As one who tries to steer clear of gossip as much as possible, I have a game plan now should I ever be blindsided and feel trapped in a moment like that again. While silence is a wise choice, running is even better because it gets my ears out of ear shot and keeps the ooey gooey from getting on me and tainting my view of others. It makes me think of Proverbs 4:23-27(Message Version), which says:
Keep vigilant watch over your heart;
that’s where life starts.
Don’t talk out of both sides of your mouth;
avoid careless banter, white lies, and gossip.
Keep your eyes straight ahead;
ignore all sideshow distractions.
Watch your step,
and the road will stretch out smooth before you.
Look neither right nor left;
leave evil in the dust.
It is so important to guard our hearts from anything that can contaminate them. When we follow the wisdom of Proverbs 4, we can’t go wrong. The next time I’m faced with a situation like that my plan is to put my spiritual running shoes on and run, not walk out of there. Here’s to leaving evil in the dust!
Father God, I thank you for the wisdom of the word on how to guard my heart so that I can experience the fullness of life as you intended. I know you love me and want the best for me. You caution many times on steering clear of gossip and conversations that could cause harm to others. Grant me wisdom and strength to run from them, to leave evil in the dust. In Jesus name, amen.