And I thought about integrity and honesty and secrecy... and I wondered... Here are some of my musings:
You know, I can keep a tight rein on my lips - I can control not saying certain things that I think to people. And when they frustrate me, I can keep it quiet. I can look at them and judge them in my heart, but if I don't say it, maybe that's okay. Oh, and if it really bothers me, I can probably tell a trusted friend - you know, in private, like in email or on the phone, or even in person. I could share it as a 'burden' or a cause for prayer - like a prayer request. Because I really don't know how to help this person I look down on. And it can be a matter of privacy that I think these things. I can be sweet and meek and nice and kind to those around me, all the while harbouring junk in my spirit towards them. I can look at them with pity and sadly think how much better they could be at....well, everything. In the name of privacy I can share these things (of course it wouldn't be considered gossip - oh no! definitely not!) In the name of a burden I have and a need for prayer, well, surely I can share these things with my trusted few who are neither part of the problem or solution. I'm sure that is okay. Because my email is private and my phone conversations are private. And privacy means a free pass on these things, right? I mean, it just so grieves my heart to see another person not living as well as I think they should - I mean, I can just mention it in confidence as 'it's such a shame that she doesn't ____________'
Because really, this has nothing to do with my integrity! Right? Because I can put a certain docile, meek face on myself, smile and pretend I don't judge. Of course no one would guess I'm judging them, and since they can't read my thoughts and know my heart and because God certainly must want me to observe and evaluate others around me (or else why did He put me here) then it must be okay, right?
SORRY, I say to myself, SORRY - try again. Wrong. On all fronts, WRONG.
No, this is not acceptable thinking. Integrity, honesty and transparency means that if someone hacked my emails this minute I would not be ashamed or embarrassed by the things I have said of others. Integrity means that I don't use privacy, confidences or 'things of a personal nature' to cover for my sin of gossip. Gossip is such a nasty word - I'd much rather use, 'prayer-request' or 'personal burden'. That way it sanctifies it a bit, and I am free to indulge in a judging party of those around me.
If someone read your emails,
listened in to your phone conversations,
sat as a bug on the wall of your home,
would you speak any differently?
The best cure for this predicament is not to become more withdrawn and private.
The cure has nothing to do with a more willful striving to be more circumspect in our verbage and conversation.
The CURE is to be transformed from WITHIN.
To quit thinking those nasty judgemental thoughts of others.
To quit evaluating everyone and everything that is done (or not done) in your presence.
To remove your need to type those confidential emails, or private talks.
ANYONE should be able to listen in, read over your shoulder - especially those you refer to - and you should be okay with it. For while privacy may be an American 'right' it isn't the 'right' of a Christian to use such a freedom to indulge the flesh.
No, such thoughts are not just better kept to onesself, they are better left UN-thought. Our hearts need to be changed so that if someone could read our minds, we would not be ashamed. We would have open, honest, integrity - meaning anyone can know what goes on within me and they wouldn't be shocked because I don't play a game of presenting myself one way to the world but harbour dirt in my spirit.
Who do we think we're pretending for? It certainly isn't God! Because we won't fool God and there are many in our lives who we think we're fooling, but we're not. Some people (like me, for instance) see right through the charade.
So maybe you want to go on having your privacy and couching your terms in spiritual language. But it isn't pleasing to God and it isn't helping the people you judge.