One day God called me a gossip. I said to him, no way, I don't spread rumors about people, I don't indulge in that type of "juicy" conversation.
This is one way we know God is speaking to us; you might hear a thought in your head that is contrary to what you believe about yourself. Here's the key to knowing it's his voice: it's corrective, and not condemning.
So he told me to Google the word gossip, and I did.
The first definition is rumor, the second is idle talk.
I never knew that. I was amazed. I knew I definitely was an idle talker, or speaking irrelevantly about someone even if the things said were true. I'm someone who loves to joke and roast people. Everyone knows my words are never in secret, and it's even in front of the person or people if I can help it, but it is easy to dip into the realm of idle talk, or gossip, when it goes past a simple joke and into irrelevant speech that has nothing to do with anything. Pretty soon we find ourselves talking about someone's whole life and none of it is edifying or positive. If it happens, I make a conscious effort to say something redemptive about the person/people, or I steer the conversation in a different direction by saying something random.
So why does this even matter?
"Indeed, we all make many mistakes. For if we could control our tongues, we would be perfect and could also control ourselves in every other way."
Negative talk spreads to other areas of our lives without even knowing it. We may have addictions, character flaws or behavioral tendencies that we try to solve on the surface level, without realizing the gateway was open with the words coming out of our mouth; the root problem is self-control.
We've heard the Karate Kid reference used thousands of times. The boy in the movie was training for karate without realizing he was training for karate; he thought he was doing random, pointless tasks.
This also goes for talking bad about ourselves. Even if you think it, don't say it out-loud. Don't say you can't do this, I'm not good enough for that, I'll never be this, or I'm that.
Speak life about yourself and others and you will invite life into your life.