In my super senior year of college, I remember reading the book of Luke and God drew me to chapter 2 verse 19 which says, “But Mary kept all these things and pondered them in her heart.” Verses 1-18 talk about the things she was pondering. Mary had given birth to Jesus in an environment that I can only imagine was not her ideal birthing experience, and some shepherds, whom she did not previously know, just left after telling her and everyone else some marvelous things about her infant. That’s a lot to process!
But what did Mary do? She “kept all these things and pondered them in her heart.” At the time, I had no idea what God could possibly be telling me through this verse. I wasn’t married and I wasn’t pregnant so I didn’t get it. When I got married (I graduated college in 2001 and was married in 2002), that verse came back to my mind. It started to come up when I heard about struggles folks were having and private information about people I knew including our children’s mothers. I got the inkling that God wanted me to do what Mary did and keep this information to myself but, at the time, I was a gossip and I couldn’t let the sun go down until I shared whatever I knew with someone else.
Now, if we were to go back in time 7 years and you would have asked me if I was a gossip, I would not hesitate to tell you that I was not. I didn’t believe that I was. In my mind, I was merely sharing information with other trustworthy people whom I trusted not to tell your business. In other words, your information did not stop with me but I only shared it with folks that I knew, or so I thought, could keep a secret.
It took about another year or so before I was convicted that I was a gossip and all those verses in the Bible talking about gossipers was about me. I confessed and repented for my sin of gossiping. However, I still found myself sharing information as vaguely (no names, details, or identifying information) as possible to others. Vague or not, it was wrong. I thought it was all right for me to share details of other folks information with someone whom the parties involved would never meet or know of each others existence. Though it may seem okay, that is not right either.
I remember a few years ago, a woman named Tasha was speaking to us at a retreat. She was a counselor at a Christian counseling center. Everything she heard throughout the day was confidential. She could not share details with anyone, not even her spouse. She said some days would be hard due to the type of counseling she was involved in that day. When she returned home and got on the phone to chat with a girlfriend, she would often say, “The Sun is shining! That’s all I’ve got.” She didn’t have any other conversation. She couldn’t talk about her day because her day was confidential. I thought that took a lot of grit because I would have tried to say as much as I could without naming names or places etc so I could get my day off my chest. Tasha’s behavior was very mature. She was trustworthy.
It wasn’t until today that it became very clear exactly what God was trying to tell me 9 years ago in Luke 2:19. When I “hear things” whether directly or indirectly, I am to keep all these things and ponder them in my heart. I don’t think I was ever willing to take that step in maturity before today. I had made strides in this direction before and practice them daily. I change the direction of conversations if it looks like it might lead to gossip or I leave. I keep myself from gossip and gossipers. I don’t keep company with them. But to not share anything at all to anyone was not something I was willing to do until today.
I became very aware about what being untrustworthy, even with what seemed to be right motives, can do. I was very disheartened by it. I never want to cause that pain in someone.