"He sure likes to talk to you. Is there something going on between the two of you?"
"You can use it for free, but you do realize you have to make a donation, right?"
"Don't be surprised at her house. Let's just say, she's not much of a housekeeper."
I could probably write an entire book on some of the mean, unnecessary, problem-causing stuff that comes out of people's mouths. Take the 4 above... these all came from just one person, all within a 24 hour period of time.
Now, I am not innocent of sometimes opening my trap when I really should keep it shut. There are many times I realize that I should just carry a roll of duct tape around with me... and use it on myself. So, I really don't mean to pick on this one person. I'm just using this person as an example since the words are relatively fresh in my mind.
Within 24 hours, one person managed to cause an anxiety attack in an already stressed out person; accuse someone of having an affair; berate someone for not giving the church enough money; and judge someone by the condition of her house.
I would have loved to have a roll of duct tape available.
Of course, my snippy "I'm not shallow enough to judge someone on, or even care about, the condition of her house" deserved a bit of duct tape, too (see... told you I'm not innocent).
But anyway... we're told in the Bible not to slander. No speaking ill of people. No spouting off spiteful words. No gossiping. Basically, shut your mouth if you don't have something nice to say. Yes, I know, I should probably back this up with the actual Bible verses... but I'm sure you're all resourceful enough to find them :)
So, what are some big no-no's when talking to other people?
1) If you don't have the facts, duct tape your mouth
And by facts, I mean real, honest, true facts. Not the "well, Betty said that Jimmy told her that his brother saw..." kind of facts. Just an FYI, those aren't real facts. Also, it doesn't mean, "Well, it happened that way to Suzie, so it's going to be that way for you also". Again, not a real fact.
2) Never, ever, ever tell someone what they must or must not pay
Unless the money owed is to you, or you're a cashier, duct tape your mouth. This is especially true in regards to donations/offerings at a church. You don't tell someone they aren't giving enough in the offering plate. You don't tell someone they have to donate money to the church. You don't make mention of "well, I know you don't have a lot of money, but..." Sorry. NO NO NO NO NO! I may not have much money, but I'll happily buy you a few rolls of duct tape for this one.
3) Don't make assumptions
Seriously, just because two people can have a pleasant conversation, doesn't mean they're sleeping together. In fact, if this is the kind of conclusions you jump to, it doesn't say much about you and the kind of relationships/friendships you have. And, even if your mind must go there, please duct tape your mouth rather that accuse people of things, or spread such accusations around to others.
4) Keep your opinions to yourself
Who cares if she has a messy house, or if she wore white before Easter? Who cares if he's a little overweight, or you think he drinks too much. If your heart must be so judgmental, buy yourself a case of duct tape, because you're going to need it. No one can live up to your standards. And no one needs to. And no one wants to.
5) In summary... if you don't have anything nice to say... Shut Up!
Always use your words to build people up rather than tear them down. Remember - God is listening :)