“You too, be patient and stand firm, because the Lord’s coming is near. Don’t grumble against one another, brothers and sisters, or you will be judged.” James 5:8-9
When I was growing up, my two older brothers used to pick on me a lot (but don’t worry if you’re going through this now – your older siblings will become your best friends one day). They had a lot of silly names they would call me, and one of their favorites was “Tattle Tale”.
It made me so mad, but I guess I kind of deserved it. I would constantly look for ways to catch them in the act of doing something disobedient and run to share it with our parents. I think doing this somehow made me feel better about doing things wrong myself – I thought if I could make them look bad too, it would even out the playing field.
Now I’m in college, and I still see people, including myself, living this way every day. People (especially girls) so often spend their time sitting around and saying disrespectful things about other girls behind their backs, somehow hoping that it will make them feel better about their own shortcomings… but in reality, picking out other people’s flaws is not our job, and grumbling about others only leaves us feeling more empty inside.
My mom always used to use the expression “bite your tongue”, which pretty much translates to Thumper’s famous line from ‘Bambi’: “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say nothin’ at all.”
I finally feel like I’m starting to understand the wisdom behind this – saying bad things about someone else, whether it is to their face or behind their back, is never a good idea, and it breaks God’s heart to hear us talking badly about his precious children.
Build people up with your words – you’ll be amazed at how much happier you feel when you do!