Relationship Atomic Bombs

If there was one thing you could eliminate about the way people around you interact and relate, what would it be? Would you get rid of the way some people criticize others? How about when some people are rude or inconsiderate? In your mind, what is the one thing that is the worst for relationships?

In my experience, the single thing that is the most damaging, the most harmful to most relationships is gossip. It is a relationship atomic bomb, unparalleled in its incredible destructive power.

Gossip is defined as “idle talk or rumor, especially about personal or private affairs of others.” It’s sticking our noses into the business of others. It’s poking into someone’s dirt. It’s being an inquiring mind, when it’s quite possibly (and often likely) none of our business to know. And worst of all, it’s sharing what we didn’t need to know in the first place.

In the classic book The Magic of Thinking Big, author David J. Schwartz, PhD has several thoughts about gossip, calling it “thought poison.”

Thought poison is subtle, but it accomplishes “big” things. It reduces the size of our thinking by forcing us to concentrate on petty, unimportant things.

In another place, Dr. Schwartz defines gossip, writing,

Gossip is just negative conversation about people, and the victim of thought poison begins to think he enjoys it. He seems to get a form of poisoned joy from talking negatively about others, not knowing that to successful people he is becoming increasingly unlikable, and unreliable.

Regarding leadership and gossip, best-selling author, award-winning blogger and LIFE founder Orrin Woodward recently tweeted,

Never met a leader who made a habit of gossiping & I’ve never met a gossiper who made a habit of leading. #success

And best-selling author, award-winning blogger and LIFE CEO Chris Brady recently tweeted,

A person who gossips spreads poison and blames others for the fallout. #gossip #rumors #relationships

The fallout of gossip can be as broad as the number of people involved. It damages and even breaks relationships, causes multitudes of hurt feelings and untold numbers of misunderstandings.

I remember as a schoolgirl, there was some gossip about another person and myself. The rumors were I had said something about my friend that was cruel and mean. They were completely untrue! But my friend, and our group of friends, believed them. No matter how insistent my denials, how strong my protests, they didn’t believe me, and I spent the rest of my senior year of high school ostracized from my former friends. I never reconciled with them, and now cannot with some, as they have since died. Gossip caused my friendships to be shattered beyond repair forever.

Since gossip is so damaging, how do we avoid it? One rule my grandmother and mother both taught me as a girl seems appropriate here. When tempted to gossip, they taught me to ask myself, “Would I say it if that person were present?

Let’s go back to see what David J. Schwartz, PhD has to say for a personal gossip test from The Magic of Thinking Big:

  1. Do I spread rumors about other people?
  2. Do I always have good things to say about others?
  3. Do I like to hear reports of a scandal?
  4. Do I judge others only on the basis of facts?
  5. Do I encourage others to bring their rumors to me?
  6. Do I precede my conversations with, “Don’t tell anybody”?
  7. Do I keep confidential information confidential?
  8. Do I feel guilty about what I have to say concerning other people?

Dr. Schwartz follows this list with his Golden Rule of human behavior, “Go First Class.” We all have an innate knowledge of what First Class means. It’s the best of everything money can buy. In relationships, Go First Class means to be a person of trust, honor, integrity, character and class. It means to be able to answer the questions of the gossip test with a resounding “NO” because that would be against everything you believe in and practice. To Go First Class in our relationships means we are trustworthy friends, loyal and faithful.

When our friends know the relationship atomic bomb of gossip won’t be dropped on them, it gives them security in our relationships. It means our friends know they can count on us to hear deep intimacies, knowing their secrets won’t go anywhere else.

If you struggle with gossip, I urge you to take my words to heart, and apply Dr. Schwartz’s test to your conversations. Don’t forget, it’s not just a matter of not saying it. It’s also a matter of what you will accept being told. Let us walk together, speaking truthfully, in love, and without the thought poison of gossip.



On Intimacy With Immensity, Parts 1 and 2

These poems reflect the place I was in my relationship with God at the time I wrote them.  The first was 10 years ago.  The second was 2010.  The difference was taking a class focused around Ed Piorek’s DVD series The Father Loves You .  It changed my perspective of Father God, my relationship with Him, and is based on Galatians 4:6,

Because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!”

It is my prayer you find joy in the Father’s love!

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

             On Intimacy With Immensity 

 You are so big . . .

          Your power created the universe;

                   All the things I see, all I cannot.

          Your wisdom smoothly runs it

                   Without raising a sweat on Your brow.

          Your majesty is seen in it

                   But only as a dim reflection of Your glory.

And You want to be intimate

With small and insignificant me.



You are so loving . . .

          You forgive the worst sinners

                    When they come to You in repentance.

          You came to give Yourself for us

                   While we were yet sinners all.

          You would have done it if all the world were perfect

                   Except for one poor, sinful soul.

And You want to pour out this love

On someone as undeserving as me.



You are so powerful . . .

          All You have to do is think

                   And amazing things happen.

          You decided all the laws of the universe,

                   And go outside them as You choose.

          There is nothing that happens anywhere

                   That You don’t know of it before it occurs.

And You want to share Your power

Pouring it into a life as powerless as mine.


I can’t think of this too often,

          You know.

You are so immense.

          And I am so small.

You are so loving.

          And I am so insignificant.

You are so powerful.

          And I am so weak.

But for all our many differences,

          You demand intimacy between us.

And of all the things I’ve ever thought of,

          This is the most amazing one:

To have intimacy with Your immensity

           Is a thing my mind can never comprehend.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Abba’s Lap

(On Intimacy With Immensity, Part II) 



          The world is cold, and lonely, and hard.

                   It is unforgiving of my struggles, and faults, and failings.


          Can I climb into Your lap for a while?





          The world is big, and I am but small.

                   The world is frightening, and I am scared.


          You are bigger than the big, scary world.

                   Can I climb into Your lap and be safe?





          My heart is broken and hurting.

                   The world has cast it aside like a discarded  and unwanted



          When I bring my heart to You, will You fix it for me?





The world takes such joy, such delight in shredding my life, my


my dreams like a small child would paper.


          When I bring You the shattered pieces, can You, will You, fix


                   and fix me?



Abba . . .

          Abba . . .

                   Abba . . .


Child.  Beloved Child.  Come here, Beloved Child.  Come up.


(For my church family)

 “Home is where the heart is,”

Or at least, it seems to me,

Home of Benjamin Harrison, 23rd president of t...

That I have heard somewhere before

About what a home should be.


A home should be a friendly place,

Mr. Leatherman, homesteader, coming out of his...

Where a person can be free

To grow and to develop

Into all that they should be.


A home should be a warm embrace,

Someone showing that they care,

Candle wick burning.

A light that’s burning in the night,

As you come in from anywhere.


A home should be a relaxed place,


Where you can kick back and just “be,”

Where secrets shared are secrets kept

In gently loving intimacy.


A home should be a welcome smile                                                                    

Smile ~

When you come in tired at night,


And a home should be an encouraging hug

As you go out in early light.


 A home doesn’t have to be a building,

Or an address on some street,

For I have heard a home can be

Love to all my contacts*

Wherever loving hearts meet.