One of the blessings and challenges of having multiples is the fact that they are together so much. It is not just home, but school, Sunday School, etc., their after school activities are the only real break they get from each other in social situations--and sometimes even those are the same. As a result of all this togetherness, they tend to be in-the-know about exactly what the others are up to at all times.
I know that when they are teens I may be very thankful for all of the accountability, but at this age it is a slippery slope between tattling for the right reasons (safety) and the wrong ones (gloating in someone else getting in trouble). As with most anything in life, it boils down to heart attitude and motive. When you are seven that can be hard to identify, much less keep in check.
This afternoon one of my children climbed into my car practically bursting with news to report. He started a less than stellar report and his sister did burst...into tears. "That's not your story!" she cried, "I told you I would tell Mom. It is my story NOT yours."
Although this is language we have practiced, it seared my heart today...I was immediately convicted of times I have 'told someone else's story.' Grown ups have another name for it: gossip.
And like my 7 year olds, I have to be willing to constantly ask myself: Is this my story? What good would come from me sharing it?
Earlier this Summer my pastor was preaching through the Ten Commandments. I was struck by his approach to 'bearing false witness.' He reminded our congregation to not get caught up on the word false to the point that we miss the greater meaning. He cautioned us to remember that just because something is true doesn't mean we have the right to share it.
As we testify about people in our life, we should treat their name with the same respect we would want ours to be treated. Ouch. This is a practical way to "love your neighbor as you love yourself." Love your neighbor's image/reputation as you love your own.
I am NOT writing this as one who has it figured out. I write as one who needs reminding.
Lord, before I speak help me to ask: Is this my story? Is this necessary/helpful to share? Would I want my name mentioned in this way? Lord, open my heart more and shut my mouth when necessary.