“A contrary man spreads conflict, and a gossip separates close friends.” Proverbs 16:28
Each summer while growing up in Glenwood, we made an annual trek to Lake Greeson to camp for a week. We went to the lake almost every week on my Dad’s day off during the summer, but this week was special.
Before the Corps of Engineers changed the rules, we even camped in an area with no camping facilities. My Dad hunted a lot back then, so he knew all the back roads.
He pulled our small camper behind his pickup truck. Dad piled the old homemade wooden picnic table upside-down in the back of the pickup with lots of other stuff on top it. We camped at the end of a peninsula that jutted out into the lake. We felt like the Swiss Family Robinson on our own deserted island!
My mother drove the station wagon packed with supplies. My Mom’s parents, Victor and Gladys Cooper, usually came too. They came in tow with an old army tent. They slept on cots.
My Grandpa Cooper loved to make things instead of buy them. He made a cooking table from a flat piece of metal and old plumbing pipes that screwed in for legs. He was tight with the finances. He rarely bought any fancy camping equipment because he could make just about anything from the old stuff he had stored in the old chicken house he had converted to a shop / storage building.
My Mom, Dad, younger sister and two brothers slept in the little camper. I slept by myself in the station wagon.
We skied, swam, fished, played, ate, and hiked all day. My Dad drove the boat a lot while we skied. My Mom cooked. Granny Cooper painted lake scenes. I still have some of her paintings (see photo). Papa Cooper made the frame.
In the evenings, tired and sunburned, we drank lots of iced tea, and sat around a small fire. The old Coleman lantern my Dad had pumped up and lighted hung in a tree nearby.
Granny Cooper always wanted to play the whisper game. She would whisper a sentence into the ear of the person next to her. Then they in turn would whisper to the next until it went around the circle. Then the last person would repeat out loud what they heard.
Granny then revealed the original sentence. The difference was amazing! The end statement did not even resemble the original. We would laugh and laugh at the ridiculous things that came out on the other end!
Wow, what a lesson it taught us as children!
Repeating half-truths, assumptions, exaggerations, and hear-say in life doesn’t get laughs. It gets conflict and damaged relationships. Ruthlessly reject gossip! It will destroy a congregation’s unity and hinder God’s work and Spirit!
Encourage each other. Praise the Lord. Speak only truth. Say lots of prayers. Use your words carefully.
Father, discipline our lives to carefully build-up with our words instead of carelessly throwing words to the wind.