Sally and Rachel clasped hands across the table and prayed over their lunch date. Weeks had passed since their last get together and words were many in between bites of burgers, fries, and sips of diet colas.
“Nancy told me that she and Rob are getting a divorce.” Sally leaned across the table, lowering her voice. “He’s been cheating with a gal at work.”
“No way.” Rachel gasped. “I would have never guessed. They lead our marriage class two years ago.”
“I know, I was pretty shocked.” Sally sipped her cola. “I don’t know if they are telling people yet, so keep it between us.”
“Of course. I just can’t believe it.”
“Nancy came over last night. It’s still pretty fresh.” Sally took a bite of her hamburger.
“Do you think they’ll really get a divorce? Or do will they try to work it out?”
Sally wiped her mouth with her napkin. “I don’t think they’ll work it out. Once Rob came clean, he left. The affair has been going on for several years.”
The women sat in silence, eating a few more bites of their lunches.
Rachel brushed crumbs off the table. “So many couples are getting divorces in our church. Melissa and Ed. Jane and James. And now Nancy and Rob.”
Sally nodded. “Oh, I almost forgot to tell you. You know Shannon’s daughter, Abby?”
“Yeah, she’s a senior this year. Shannon and I have been friends since our kids were in kindergarten together.”
“Yep. She’s pregnant.”
“Are you kidding me?” Rachel lowered her voice and set her drink down on the table a little too hard. Soda sloshed over the sides onto the table.
“Nope. She’s 4 months along already. Due in July.”
“Wow.” Rachel wondered how Shannon was handling the news. “How did you find out about this? I didn’t think you and Shannon were friends?”
“Oh, I promised I wouldn’t say.” Sally motioned with her hand that she was zipping her lips and throwing away the key.
Juvenile, Rachel thought. “I’m surprised Shannon hasn’t called me. She must be taking this very hard. Abby just got a basketball scholarship.”
“Doesn’t look like she’ll be using that scholarship any time soon.”
“Sorry, but it’s true. How is she going to go to school now and play basketball?”
“There are still ways to manage. Abby’s a smart girl. She’ll figure it out.” Rachel put her debit card on the table with the check.
Sally dug in her purse and pulled out cash and laid it on Rachel’s debit card. “Not smart enough to not get pregnant, I guess.”
“Can we change the subject, please?” Rachel shot Sally a pointed look.
“Hello, girls.” Rachel and Sally looked up to see an elder from their church, Mrs. Williams.
The ladies greeted the older woman. Rachel felt her face grow warm. Had Mrs. Williams overheard their conversation?
“Might I give you girls a little advice?” Both women nodded. “It would do you both well to pray for these families in our church, instead of talking about them behind their backs.”
Sally and Rachel exchanged a panicked look.
“Yes, of course.”
Mrs. Williams nodded at them both. “It seems I now have more knowledge of these families than I have a right to know. Let’s do as the Lord says about gossiping and keep our tongues from wagging. Alrightie, you two enjoy the rest of your lunch.” The ladies watched her leave the building before speaking again.
“Oh my goodness! Can you belie–”
“Sally, she’s right. We need to talk about something else.” Rachel sent up a silent prayer asking for forgiveness.
Have you ever had a lunch date like the one Sally and Rachel? I will admit that I’ve done this very thing. I’m ashamed to admit it but it’s the truth. And I have felt very convicted over it and so wanted to share this in a fictional story.
How do you stop a conversation from turning into a gossip session? What would you have said to Mrs. Williams? I’d love to hear your thoughts. Please share in the comments below.
Proverbs 20:19 Whoever goes about slandering reveals secrets; therefore do not associate with a simple babbler.
I even get uncomfortable sometimes in prayer request sessions where people talk about other people and ask for prayer. “I have a prayer request, please pray for so and so who got arrested last night” or so and so who just found out they are pregnant or this couple who is getting a divorce. So often I feel like I don’t need to know so many details. God already knows their names and he knows all the details.
Me too! Have you heard Anjelah Johnson on prayer requests? So funny and sadly true. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6DaLd_qd6GQ
Oh well written Melinda! I would be in the roll of Mrs. Williams, and have been more often than not. And it is not a fun place to be, for anyone. Those being convicted and those who choose to speak up for those who are not there to defend themselves. Gossip is a cruel and poisonous beast that can find its way into so many parts of our walk. Thank you for your courage in sharing this post and your courage to speak out against gossip!
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