Today is day one of a thirty day fast, an experiment if you will, from talking about anybody who is not in the room. And I mean good talk as well as bad–a total fast. Because even good talk can devolve so quickly and easily. So I’m going to cut it all, do a cleanse, and see what happens.
There will probably be some awkwardness in conversations, some uncomfortable silences, weird transitions…and, there will probably be a cut-off of the supply line of negative energy, gossip, complaining, as well as a reduction in anger and stress. I’m just guessing.
The inspiration for this fast came from listening again to Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s “Life Together.” In chapter four, under a heading The Ministry of Holding One’s Tongue, he states that “Often we combat our evil thoughts most effectively if we absolutely refuse to allow them to be verbalized.” I believe, in this case, that this is not just bottling everything up, but simply refraining from speaking evil of another (James 4:11-12). He goes on to say, “talking about others in secret is not allowed even under the pretense of help and goodwill.”
By the way, my fast includes people I don’t know and famous people. So please don’t try to talk to me about any politicians..!
Ok, here it goes. It’s been positive so far!
Don’t let any unwholesome words escape your lips. Instead, say whatever is good and will be useful in building people up, so that you will give grace to those who listen. ~Ephesians 4:29
My theory is that after the thirty days I will find that it is indeed helpful to have one or two trusted people with whom I can share concerns and who will keep me honest. We need to be kept honest, for there is “seeking wise counsel”, and then there’s just complaining and whining. Also, if I have a real concern for someone, I probably don’t need to share with seventeen different people.