How good are you at protecting those you love? Read this guest post by Amanda Beth to find out. It’s an excerpt taken from her latest book, The LOVE Walk, A 15 – Week Devotional on 1 Corinthians 13:4-8.
The original Greek word for protect in 1 Corinthians 13:7 is pronounced stegō. It means: 1) to protect or keep by covering, to preserve; 2) to cover over with silence; 3) to keep secret; 4) to hide, conceal the errors and faults of others.
To protect someone means to protect all that concerns them. This includes protecting their reputation. I learned what it means to protect someone’s reputation by seeing how my husband protects mine.
My husband continually builds me up to others. Sometimes I think he makes me sound better than I am. I’ve even seen him make himself look bad in order to protect my reputation. He goes out of his way to make me look good. He does it because he loves me.
Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honoring each other. Romans 12:10 (NLT)
If we want to sincerely love others we have to protect their reputations. We don’t protect people’s reputations when we gossip. Proverbs shares many verses on gossip and the reasons why we need to avoid it.
Proverbs 18:8 shares the most important reason. Solomon must have thought so too because he repeated it again in Proverbs 26:22.
The NLT version for these verses read:
“Rumors are dainty morsels that sink deep into one’s heart.”
Gossip contaminates our hearts. When we put others down we take ourselves down, too. Gossiping may seem harmless and feel innocent at the time, but it gradually hardens our hearts toward others. It is impossible to love others when our hearts are hardened.
Avoid godless chatter, because those who indulge in it will become more and more ungodly. 2 Timothy 2:16
Proverbs 16:28 shares another reason why we need to avoid gossip:
A perverse man stirs up dissension, and a gossip separates close friends.
I wonder how many friendships have been destroyed over gossip. I wonder how many families have been divided over gossip. Gossip spreads like wildfire and doesn’t go out until someone puts it out. The more it spreads the more people it deceives.
Years ago I had someone spread gossip about me. It made its rounds through many people. By the time it came around to me it was almost comical. The story was twisted so far from the truth that you knew each person had to have added something new as they shared it with the next. What hurt most was that I had done nothing wrong in the first place. The one who started it didn’t agree with something I was doing, so they took it and twisted it to make me sound bad.
Proverbs 26:20 says, “Without wood a fire goes out; without gossip a quarrel dies down.” Every one who shared the gossip threw their wood into that fire to keep it going. All it would’ve taken was one person to stand up and say, “I’m not going to accept that.” The fire would’ve ended there and never spread to me.
We may not be the ones who spread gossip, but how many times do we sit in the middle of gossip and just listen? To protect someone’s reputation means that we’ll have to stand up in others’ defense when they’re being talked about.
I remember calling my mom once to talk about someone who wronged me. I expected her to listen to my complaints, but instead she started saying positive things about this person. At first I got irritated. But after hearing the things she said about that person my heart started softening.
God used that conviction to help me turn from gossip so He could pour His love into my heart for that person. That moment I saw the reason why God wants us to protect people’s reputations—it transforms our hearts.
Do not go about spreading slander among your people. Do not do anything that endangers your neighbor’s life. I am the LORD.
People’s lives can be dramatically affected by gossip. We are to build people up, not tear them down. When we build others up and protect their reputations, God will protect ours.
“The LOVE Walk” is a fifteen week devotional created to encourage and support you in your love walk. Each devotional focuses on a different characteristic of love as described in 1 Corinthians 13:4-8:
“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails….”
Each chapter includes an encouragement, a prayer, verses to meditate on, and one verse to memorize to support you in your love walk. Additionally, at the end of each chapter there are questions to reflect on for personal evaluation or group study.
Follow this link to purchase a copy of “The LOVE Walk.”
Amanda is a wife of sixteen years, mother of four children, and author of “You Can Have a Happy Family” and “The LOVE Walk”. God has done an amazing work in her and her family since He rescued her twelve years ago. Because of His unfailing love, she is passionate about sharing His love with others. Every Monday she shares the wonderful benefits behind the truths in God’s Word on her blog (SharingTruths.com). Every Wednesday she prays the Word of God over prayer requests on her Facebook page (http://tinyurl.com/AmandaBeth). And every Sunday she is a guest contributor for Christian Blessings (PTL.com). She also shares messages on marriage and parenting on her website (AmandaBeth.net).
We would love for you to leave your comments and interact with Amanda Beth. Has your life ever been affected by gossip? How has someone you love protected you? If you’ve enjoyed reading this post, How Good Are You at Protecting Those You Love, please share it – chances are your friends will too!