Sowing discord

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Written by ANDRÉE SEU

September 2, 2011, 9:25 AM

If you want to know the things God especially hates, so as to avoid them, you can look up Proverbs 6:16-19. I just did that myself, and prayed to God to forgive me and to keep me from those things in the future.

But today I am interested in the last item in the list: “one who sows discord among brothers.”

I never thought I did that (much). But I noticed there are suave ways to sow discord among people while keeping your own hands “clean.” You don’t have to say to the person sitting across the table from you, “I think the Davidsons are idiots and spendthrifts.” You just have to say, “Did you hear that Julie Davidson is having a beautiful big wedding reception at the Biltmore?” You have just released a hungry pit bull into an arena, and now you can sit back and enjoy the show.

Since you know full well the character of the person to whom you have made that disclosure, you know where she is likely to run with your disclosure. You have released the poison; you have lit the fuse. You have put your friend in the position of being the gossip, while no filth clings to your own skirts.

“I heard Joyce is having a ninth baby,” you nonchalantly drop into the conversation with a person whom you suspect takes a dim view of large families. “I’m babysitting so-and-so next weekend,” you causally remark to a person whom you know already thinks that so-and-so takes advantage of you.

This is a game you can play all day long. You yourself never breathe a word of outright gossip to anyone. But by saying little things—ever so sweetly and innocently—to persons of certain inclinations, you let those persons do your dirty work for you.

Wow, no wonder that’s on God’s hate list. May it never be found among us. Let’s think of things to say to one another that will make the person we are talking to love the person we are talking about.