Tuesday, December 18, 2012
Learning to Keep Our Mouth Shut
Do you ever sit back and listen to someone talk about an event you saw and experienced first-hand, but you know they didn’t see first-hand?
Ever listen to the details they share about what took place, pieced together not from their own experience, but from countless bits of gossip or conversation they’ve heard since the event took place?
Isn’t it amazing how those events can take on a life of their own? Somewhere in their retelling of the event, there’s some truth in there, but there’s also a lot of falsehood thrown in for good measure. Not that they would intentionally pass along falsehood. Then again, maybe they would.
As a police chaplain, I’m often a first responder to events taking place in the community. Sometimes, I’m a second responder, coming after law enforcement has arrived on the scene and determined that a chaplain is needed. Either way, I see, hear, and experience many situations first-hand, many that I’d just soon not see, hear, or experience.
And, more than likely, you’ll never hear about those experiences. Well, at least not from me. You might hear about them on a local TV or radio station’s newscast. You might see someone post about it on Facebook. If you live in this area, you might hear about it through gossip at the barbershop, work, salon, or even in the church you attend.
But, you won’t hear it from me.
That’s a promise I made to myself when I began as a chaplain. Keeping a confidence is important. It is important in law enforcement. It is important to the person injured, arrested, or under investigation.
It is important to me as a minister of God’s kingdom.
In our nation, we could use a good dose of keeping our mouth shut. Less talking to the news media about what we saw or didn’t see. Less gossiping about what we heard or what someone told us to be true. Less sticking our noses where they don’t belong.
Sadly, I don’t think that’ll happen. We humans tend to like our 15 minutes of fame, or with instant technology today, it’s more like 15 seconds of fame. Just read Facebook posts or go to many Wednesday night church prayer meetings, you’ll see what I’m talking about.
Today, practice staying silent. Don’t gossip. Quit sharing details that you know. Or don’t know. You’ll be a better person for it.