Do you know any gossip girls? Or boys for that matter? And, you also know that there is an extremely popular and Teen Choice award-winning TV series called Gossip Girl that takes, well, gossip and drama to a whole new level.
What level? Combine lies, betrayals, back stabbing, queen bees, illicit sex, blackmailing and downright cruelty, and you have the basic recipe for the majority of the episodes.
I often think to myself, "Self - why are so many folks tuned into a world that dwells on some of the worst behavior possible?" Then I realized that it must either be a lack of 'drama' in the viewers' lives or that a ton of teens can relate to what's happening in Gossip Girl.
Either way, there seems to be a cultural addiction to scandal and conflict that gets people talking - and probably also gets people discouraged about life. After all, is this all there is in high school? A merry-go-round of emotional ups and downs and a disturbing carnival soundtrack of 'did you hear about her?' and 'he better not come near me or I'll…'
Believe me, I hear it too. I'm a high school teacher and at our school alone, we've got more drama in one week than three or four seasons of Gossip Girl. And yes, it's taking a toll. I can see that my students are loaded down with doses of dysfunctions that discourage even the most positive teens.
So how can you deal with life when your life mirrors Gossip Girl? Well, you could become cynical and hard. You can learn how to dish it out as well as you're taking it - right?
But you and I both know where that will lead. You'll become so unbreakable and untouchable that even the good things and people in life won't be able to get through. You'll stop trusting and risking and end up a bitter, lonely adult who wishes he or she could go back in time and choose a better way.
What is that way? It's the one spelled out in God's Word. It's the key to finding joy in this life, and it's the ticket out of a Gossip Girl world:
But now let me show you a way of life that is best of all. If I could speak all the languages of earth and of angels, but didn't love others, I would only be a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. If I had the gift of prophecy, and if I understood all of God's secret plans and possessed all knowledge, and if I had such faith that I could move mountains, but didn't love others, I would be nothing. If I gave everything I have to the poor and even sacrificed my body, I could boast about it; but if I didn't love others, I would have gained nothing.
Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance (1 Corinthians 12:31-13:7, NLT). The bottom line with cruel, backstabbing, vicious and judgmental folks is that they have forgotten about - or maybe have never known - that the path to happiness is paved with love for others. All others. Not just the ones we like, who look like us, who are on our social 'level.'
I'm not talking about a love that demands you emotionally gush over any human being who crosses your path. No, this kind of love is an act of your will - you are committed to finding the best in everyone and treating others the way you would want to be treated.
And the power to do this comes from the God who loved everyone in the world so much that He sent His Son to die for them.
It was Jesus who set the example for love. Even as He hung on the Cross in shame and agony, He looked down at His torturers, mockers, and accusers and responded this way:
Jesus said, "Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing" (Luke 23:34). So the next time the gossip and drama heats up in your life, remember that you can voluntarily change the script and change the role you used to play. Follow the example of Jesus by living the way of love through the power of the Holy Spirit and transform your world for Christ!
Flash Point: Ignite into Action
The emotional pain and drama that exists in the teenage world is a major tool that the Enemy uses to distract and discourage people from being open to God's love. This week, share with your friends that even though our friends and family often disappoint us, God will never leave or forsake those who have trusted in Jesus alone for salvation.
Accelerant: Feed the Fire
Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you (Colossians 3:13).
Forgive us our sins, for we also forgive everyone who sins against us. And lead us not into temptation (Luke 11:4).
By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another (John 13:35). And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive him, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins (Mark 11:25).
And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from his love. Death can't, and life can't. The angels can't, and the demons can't. Our fears for today, our worries about tomorrow, and even the powers of hell can't keep God's love away. Whether we are high above the sky or in the deepest ocean, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord (Romans 8:38-39, NLT).