From Gossip to Grace

Last week I uncovered the secret behind a local scandal of sorts: the kind of thing that you long to know, the kind of thing that changes your perception of several key people in your town. One who is far worse than you thought, and one who moves from villain to hero.

I’ll have to leave things hopelessly vague, lest I fall into the gossip trap, and leave it at this: a guy was talking on his cell phone in a public place–let’s say in line at a supermarket–and he unfolded the whole story of the local scandal as a backdrop to his own situation regarding his family. I tried to mind my own business, but he was talking rather loudly. The more he talked, the more my ears perked up.

My mind raced through all of the people who needed to hear about this. They would be shocked at how grievously they had misjudged the two main characters in this story. In fact, I would be doing one of the main characters a real service by helping his reputation.

Of course then I had that sinking realization that these are actual people with real tragedies going through all of this. And beyond the juicy gossip of my inside scoop, there was a family suffering. And even more so, I’ve gone through much of what this person described.

Could God have placed me right there just so this family would have someone praying for them during this week, this very difficult week in their family?

I was ashamed that I even considered passing along his story just to fan the flames of a local scandal a bit. And so right then and there I began praying for that man and his family. He comes to mind every day since, and so I pray for them, knowing that I am glad those days in my own family are behind me.

And if praying wasn’t enough of a help, at the end of his conversation he talked about another situation he was working through, and it just so happened that I knew of someone who could help him. So when he tucked his phone away, I jotted the information down on a card, walked over to him and said, “I’m sorry to have listened to your conversation, but I think this may help you…”