Some say they’re on overload with the business of others. It seems that few details of the lives of many are spared from public consumption. Kissing a spouse, going shopping, having a blood test, seeing a raccoon or testing a new cure-all fragrance – and many other activities of daily living now seem like fodder for public consumption on social media. Perhaps the days of minding one’s own business are over.
There’s a definite solid line between being interested in the lives of others and being downright nosy. The dark propensity to be nosy has been around for a long time. The Apostle Paul cautioned against it.
Just because this generation is becoming very transparent with personal information, does not give me the right to be a nosy Christian online or anywhere else. Even if our wicked flesh enjoys it and technology facilitates it, snooping, prying, nosy Christian busybodies are frowned upon by the Scriptures.
We hear that some among you walk in idleness, not busy at work, but busybodies. 2Thessalonians 3:11
By grouping several offenses together, Peter makes it crystal clear that meddling and being a busybody is a gross evil.
If you suffer, however, it must not be for murder, stealing, making trouble, or prying into other people’s affairs. 1Peter 4:15
Beware of visiting preachers and teachers and Christians in general who quietly talk to you – either looking for the scoop on what’s going on or giving you the scoop on what’s going on somewhere else. More often than not, it just feeds the gossip mill, fosters negative thoughts, fuels the fire, heightens the tensions and spreads fear. ‘To pray more intelligently’ can be the code-word or camouflage-phrase for a raw below-the-surface propensity to meddle. And remember – meddling is right up there with stealing and murder.
By the way, “just wanting to give you a heads-up…” is another lead-in phrase to a potential gossip dump. Be on the alert.
Paul not only wrote about busybodies and meddlers; he wrote about butterflies. Social butterflies are people who thrive on social interactions and derive energy from being with groups of people. They are extroverted and thoroughly enjoy being ‘on the go’ with people. “If only there were more hours in a day,” they say, “and more days in a week to get out of the house to be socializing with others!” Flitting from one social scene to another. Paul seems to have a word for these personalities as well.
“…aspire to live quietly, and to mind your own affairs…as we instructed you…” 1Thessalonians 4:11
Some of the Christians in Thessalonica were restless. They were unsettled and confused about the return of the Lord and the death of their loved ones. Paul writes to give them the truth and to advise them to be ambitious to live a quiet, focused life for the Lord, maturely assuming spiritual responsibilities and attending to their own spiritual and family needs – not nosing into the lives of others.
There are some who can’t settle to quietly sit alone to enjoy the Lord and to study the Scriptures. They find it hard to even focus on the needs under their own roof. They want to be ‘on the tear’ constantly and if they’re not, Christian living is boring. While their own family suffers or their own home crumbles – they’re busy flitting here and there.
Christian living does involve activity and work – but an absolute must in my life is a spirit of quietness. Paul said: “Ambitiously work at being quiet.” A high-energy extrovert may naturally want to be ‘running’ all the time – every evening and every weekend – even running for the Lord. But we are to ‘strive eagerly’ to be quiet and to have a certain tranquility of mind. It is the opposite of being restless. You can be busy for the Lord and not be restless.
“Lord, if I have social butterfly tendencies that are hindering me and others and if I’m a bit of a busybody, I confess my sin and my failure today. Help me to mind my own business and to be more aware of these issues in my life. I confess my restlessness and nosiness. Help me to walk in the Spirit today.”
Walk carefully and closely with the Lord today.
Warmly in Christ
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