If you want to enjoy life and see many happy days, keep your tongue from speaking evil and your lips from telling lies.1 Peter 3:10 (NLT)
Nearly everyone agrees, people should not spread gossip, rumors, or speak bad things about others – especially behind their back. Nearly everyone agrees that behaving in such a way is wrong. Nearly everyone agrees that this type of behavior causes damage to relationships, careers, families, and a million other aspects of life. Nearly everyone agrees that they hate it when people do these things, especially when they, themselves, are the target. This brings me to a question: If we all agree that this behavior is wrong, and shouldn’t be done, why does it still happen?
The unsettling reality is that it exists because we insist on it existing. Think about it. The only reason slander, gossip, rumors, hate speech exists is because we are the ones who do the behavior. It exists because we cause it to exist. It doesn’t just pop out of nothingness. It has a cause. That cause, unfortunately, is us. We are to blame.
As our verse today states, “If you want to enjoy life and see many happy days, keep your tongue from speaking evil and your lips from telling lies.” In other words, you cannot have a happy life if you speak lies or evil about others. It’s not possible to find joy. Why? Because evil is diametrically opposed to (stands firmly against) joy and love.
Now, here’s the deal. I often hear people say, “I prayed to God to take the temptation away, but He didn’t. So, I can’t control it.” While prayer is an important aspect to living a transformed life, it alone will not cure your bad behavior. God hears us. God gives us the courage to resist the temptation. But, it is still up to us how we act, how we behave. We must make a conscious choice not to participate in evil.
To help eliminate this evil from our campus, our community, we have to choose not to do it. Yes. It’s actually that simple. We have our individual part to play. We have to take ownership of our own actions, our own behavior, and choose to live in peace with others, not tear them down. We must be accountable for what we do. We only have control over our actions, not others. So, the solution must start with each one of us.