Sunday, June 11, 2017

Confession: I am a busy body.

by Hannah

I know what you’re thinking, how can that be?  I am not a gossip. You won’t find me passing around the latest info my neighbor.  I’m not judgmental at all.  I try very hard to be kind.  So you can imagine my shock when the Lord told me I am.  

When I came across the word “busybody,” in my scripture study I was struck by it.  I knew immediately the Lord was telling me something.  I quickly took inventory of my known to me understanding and practices and went back the Lord.  I was pretty sure I wasn’t guilty of being a busybody, but I told the Lord I was open to learning and that I sincerely want to repent if I am guilty.  I then invited Him to show me my sin.

When the kids were finished with breakfast I checked my email and browsed facebook briefly.  Out of curiosity, I looked at an old elementary school friend’s profile.  I smiled, because I was happy for her.  But suddenly the thought came to me boldly, calmly, and unintrusively “Busybody.”   So I, without question closed the profile and moved on.  Then there was the sweet birth blog post from another friend. I LOVE BIRTH STORIES! I eagerly opened the link and began to read.  Again, both excited for my friend and happy to rejoice with her. Then for the second time in the past 10 minutes the thought came to me boldly, calmly, and unintrusively, “Busybody.”  I replied to the Lord, “Ok, I get it, and I closed the computer.”

If you are like me, you may be confused how this is being a busybody.  I wasn’t being judgmental. I was, on a very shallow level, rejoicing for these dear women’s lives.  As the day progressed and I kept asking in prayer in my heart, and making myself open to the idea that I have this problem, the Lord showed me how.

The word “busybody” appears three times in the scriptures. Because the implication is so direct, it’s easy to overlook the deeper meanings, as I have.  
1 Timothy 5:13 And withal they learn to be idle, wandering about from house to house; and not only idle, but tattlers also and busybodies, speaking things which they ought not.
It’s easy at first glance to associate being a busybody with simply being a gossip.  The phrase “speaking things they ought not” certainly has that implication.  And I do believe that this is a type of busybody Paul is referring to here. Anytime we spend time speaking of things that are unhelpful, about sensitive matters, or simply that someone else shared with us in confidence this is gossip.  This is offensive to the Lord and hurtful to others. However, I think Paul was also suggesting that this goes deeper still.  There is no designation about speaking about someone versus to someone.  I think anytime we give advice where none was inspired by the Holy Ghost, we are speaking things we ought not, and being a busybody.  Anytime we make any unkind or even the most loving comment towards another with the intent to change his or her behavior or direct their paths or just offer an opinion without solicitation, this is speaking things we ought not and being a busybody.  I am guilty of being a busybody.
1 Peter 4:15 But let none of you suffer as a murderer, or as a thief, or as an evildoer, or as a busybody in other men’s matters.
I think Peter agrees with Paul that gossip is part of being “a busybody in other men’s matters.”  But looking deeper into this phrase the word “in” stands out.  The Lord showed me that this isn’t just gossip or speaking things I ought not to someone but it’s also the unproductive curiosity that drives me to facebook stalking or blog surfing. It also includes the peeking into the lives of others from reality tv or the latest celebrity news headline for entertainment.  Sure, there may be times when checking on sometimes through a blog or facebook is productive. There are times when taking an interest in other people lives is very loving. However for me, this isn’t always the case. Mostly I am just collecting useless information. I am guilty of being a busybody.
2 Thessalonians 3:11 For we hear that there are some which walk among you disorderly, working not at all, but are busybodies.

Again, Paul isn’t just referring to people who gossip all day.  The phrase “working not at all” implies that these busybodies aren’t contributing much.  At second glance, this must mean when he refers to being idle in 1 Timothy.  It’s people who are aware that there is a neighbor who has a problem but choose not to do anything about it. If I find out on facebook that my cousin is morning, do I simply send a sad face and go on with my day?  Sadly sometimes yes, and I am guilty of being a busybody.  What about the time I’ve used to browse facebook aimlessly, or the countless blogs I surfed that I could have spent doing an errand for the Lord?  I am guilty of being a busybody. Maybe, anytime we are busy doing nothing of consequence we are guilty of being a busybody. I am a busybody.

If we are to truly following Alma’s admonition in Mosiah ch 18:8-9 and “ are  desirous to come into the fold of God, and to be called his people, and are willing to bear one another’s burdens, that they may be light; Yea, and are willing to mourn with those that mourn; yea, and comfort those that stand in need of comfort, and to stand as witnesses of God at all times and in all things, and in all places that ye may be in, even until death,” we don’t just sit pass around bad news.  We do something.  The Lord will show us what capacity we have to contribute. He may even lead us to a FB post or a blog to make us aware of a need. Or inspire us to ask questions or check on someone. It’s going to be a hard habit to break. The most important part is knowing where my heart is. Social media, news outlets, and TV are filled with idle gossip, peeks into the lives of others for entertainment, and useless information.

My name is Hannah, and I am a busybody. The only way to overcome this will be to lean on the Lord and let Him guide my use of time. I need to ensure that I am following the Lord's instruction in all things. Sometimes, my facebook time and my endless advice will be useful to the Lord. I just need to follow His instruction, and check my own motives before I act. He is merciful, patient, and the greatest teacher, Through Christ, all things are possible!

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