Yuck! I hate being human sometimes. It is the “making mistakes” part that gets old, wouldn’t you say?
I mean, try as we will to do what is right, we just can’t help ourselves. Time and time again, we mess up. Sometimes, it’s just a bit more public than others. That’s what happened to me the other day. So, at the expense of being authentic – I’m hanging out some dirty laundry.
I put on the piece of clothing without even realizing it was within my reach. It didn’t fit nor was it my color, but I wore it anyway and its name was “unkindness with a hint of gossip.” I knew it right away, but I tried to minimize it, rationalize it and even deny it. However, as the hours went by and I increasingly regretted my doing what I did, the clothing began to feel like shrink wrap on my skin, suffocating me of my joy.
I couldn’t shake it off; I needed help. I asked the Lord to forgive me, which I believe He did, but I woke up the next morning with the sense that there was more that needed to be done. Now, I could have stuffed the unwanted piece of clothing in the closet, but I know from years of dirty laundry experience, it would just begin to rot and smell over time. Dirty laundry does not get clean on its own (unfortunately, as I am working through eight loads in this household, today). In addition, I did not want my friends to remember me wearing this unsightly piece of clothing, but the beautiful dress of humility.
I called them up, explained and apologized. They were gracious, of course, and forgave me, just as I anticipated. They said that it was not a big deal and we all make mistakes; I appreciate that, but I needed them to know that I was wrong and I cared enough to say, “I’m sorry.”
Gossip and unkind words (no matter how big or small) are very destructive. They hurt others. They hurt God. They hurt us, as individuals. They distort our ability to love each other and be sensitive to each other’s needs. They are filthy, ugly rags.
What about you? Are you tempted to wear the garment of gossip? If so, STOP. Don’t do it, it is definitely “what not to wear” -- a fashion faux pas. Rather, slip on a garment of grace. Encourage one another, be sensitive to where people have been and are now. In grace, build up rather than tear down. Be assured, a garment of grace is more attractive to wear, fits well and always comes in your perfect color.