I need to become as mindful of what comes out of my mouth as what I put in my mouth.
I’ve gotten very good at not overeating, and not eating empty calories. It has been very important for me to be mindful (and not mindless) about what I eat so that I stay healthy and strong. I don’t want to become obese again. I also don’t like how I feel when I overeat or eat junk food. That lazy, drawn out feeling is hard to get over.
But gossip is a hard habit to break. Gossip isn’t just talking bad about someone else. It is also talking about them at all without them present. It is “talking behind someone’s back.” If you can’t say it in front of them, don’t say it at all.
I’m learning that part of it is the idea that if someone says something in confidence to me, I shouldn’t repeat it to anyone else. If person A wanted person B to know this information, or to know that she felt this way about this subject, she will tell her on her own. She doesn’t need me to do it for her.
In the same way that I exercise control and mindfulness when I go to the grocery store or the buffet, I need to exercise control and mindfulness when speaking.
I feel that this is very hard, because I don’t have a way to limit myself. When I go to lunch, I pray beforehand to remind myself to be present. This helps me to control my mindless, automatic behavior. I can’t pray before every time I say something. I’ll be praying all day long. People will start to wonder – more than they already do.
But this is just a way I’m making excuses rather than making a way.
I’m not at lunch when I pass by the break room and I see a dozen brownies someone has brought in. I don’t gobble them down. I used to. So I have control over my eating at non-lunch times, when I haven’t prayed.
Overeating is addictive behavior. It is acting like an animal rather than a human being. I’m trying to think of over-talking as the same. To speak against someone is the same as snapping at them like a dog. To share what they have said in private to me is the same as peeing everywhere to mark my territory.
Jesus says “It’s not what goes into the mouth that defiles a man, but what comes out of the mouth, this defiles a man.” (Matthew 15:11. HCSB)
So I need to remember this. What we say defiles us, if it is said mindlessly or carelessly. I need to remember that everything I say reflects upon me and thus upon the One I follow.