A weird thing happened to me the other day that taught me a bit of a life lesson. You see, our family operates on a rather odd sense of time—our bedroom alarm clocks are usually set 10 minutes ahead of regular time. While we know this full well, and are made aware of it every time we enter the kitchen and see the microwave clock, or look at our watches, it somehow instills just the right level of panic in us when we see the advanced time on those bedroom clocks, causing us to hurry up and hustle the family into getting ready more quickly, helping us to arrive nicely on time to wherever we are going. (Strangely enough, we still never arrive early.) So yesterday the power went out temporarily and when I was re-setting all the digital clocks in the house, I forgot to set those ones ahead 10 minutes. You can imagine what my morning looked like when in shock I was leaving the house as church was starting.
What had started as a slip-up (one of us set the clock wrong at some point), turned into a fun game that we eventually found helpful, then became a bit of a crutch that we needed to help us be on time, and then suddenly, the system completely failed me. You see, I was choosing to rely on something other than the truth. No matter what false time I set on a clock, that doesn`t change the true time that we are living in. And truth always wins in the end.
What surprised me as I reflected on this from the front pew (only seat left at 10:05) was NOT that real time caught up with me, but rather that I could have allowed myself to become so dependent on something that was so clearly not correct. Literally, the truth was staring at me from every other corner of the house, but I was blind to it. How often do we do that as Christians? How often do we know what is right, but choose to set our life by the worldly clock that tells us a different truth?
One area that strikes me as a glaring example of this, especially when I was a youth pastor's wife, is the issue of gossip. The Bible is crystal clear on this topic, we all know it`s dead wrong, yet there is some setting in our head that chooses to tune in to the false truths of this world and do it anyways, just like me and my clocks. We gossip in the name of wanting to know details because we care, or under the guise of concern. We even justify it by saying we need to vent our feelings, or any other number of excuses. The plain truth is it`s wrong. And that truth will win, just like the clocks with true time eventually caught up to me.
My experience as a spouse of someone in mininstry in the church, is that this is one area in which you do not want to ignore the truth. If I can offer any advice to a pastor or youth pastor`s spouse, it would be to avoid gossip at all costs. Now I know this may cost you some popularity, or even earn you a title as a "goody two shoes" or "straight laced" or "Bible Thumper", but it's worth it. Gossip can ruin good ministry in no time at all. Like a wildfire, it spreads quickly, does irreparable damage, and is almost impossible to control. Be wise: don't light the match and stay away from the flame where it already exists. Set your internal "truth clock" to the truth of what God says and stick to it!! You will do your spouse a HUGE service to his/her ministry in doing so.