The Meddling Tongue (#11)

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“Some of you are living idle lives, refusing to work and wasting time meddling in other people’s business.” 2 Thess 3:11 NLT

So this is the third day that we’ve gotten in trouble for being in other people’s business… First it was slander – talking about other people with the intention of hurting them.  Then it was gossip – just talking about other people’s business in a rather mindless way.

And today it is meddling – asking too many questions about other people’s personal business.  Meddling is different because usually you are talking to the person directly, not behind their back.  Sometimes meddlers have an agenda, but I’m guessing that most of them are just curious.  They just want to know – about your age, your weight, your diet, your health condition, your finances, your work situation, if you plan to have children, how your marriage is going, and all kinds of other stuff.

Here’s our book’s advice – “If you are prone to natural curiosity, you must make a special effort to keep your inquisitiveness within the bounds of what is socially and spiritually appropriate.”  We could add to that the category of culturally appropriate because taboo subjects and comfort levels vary across cultures as well.

“He who passes by and meddles in a quarrel not his own is like one who takes a dog by the ears.” Prov 26:17 You may get bitten!

Of course, even if it’s a close friend, someone with whom you have a more intimate relationship, you still have to be gentle with your questions and words.  Never assume that you have earned the right to stick your nose in someone else’s business.

I think some people just miss the social cues, they don’t know that they’ve wandered into a sensitive area.  Feel free to laugh and say, “I don’t feel like talking about that right now.”

I can only think of two exceptions.  First, children living in your house – their business is your business and occasional meddling from a wiser adult may be in their best interest.  You do still have to parent.

The second exception is in an established accountability relationship, where you have explicitly given a friend permission to meddle, to ask you hard questions about sensitive areas of your life.  Sometimes we’re having a hard time with something and we NEED someone to keep track of us – that’s the unique joy and growth opportunity found in an accountability relationship.

Today – Keep a secret!  Discourage gossip and meddling.

30 Days to Taming Your Tongue

3 thoughts on “The Meddling Tongue (#11)

  1. Jenny

    Thank you Mindy. Certainly discernment is needed here. Your intention for asking and also knowing whether the one being asked is open to your loving advice is definitley different than asking for the sake of “being in the know”.

  2. Donna

    We can think meddling is harmless curiosity but I wonder if it’s a gateway type sin that could lead to comparison, jealousy or even gossip. Loved that the book said to check with yourself (and the Holy Spirit) before asking a question. “What’s my motive for wanting to know this information and even if it’s harmless would I be tempted to use this information in a dishonoring way?”. Very thought provoking day.

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