The SIN of Having to Know

1 Timothy 5:13

And besides they learn to be idle, wandering about from house to house, and not only idle but also gossips and busybodies, saying things which they ought not.

This passage refers to the temptation younger widows encounter when they have no husband at home to provide the ballast they need to be home-centered. But certainly, other women in the Christian community are tempted to be busybodies as well. It may sound harmless, but Scripture ranks this sin with some of the big ones.

1 Peter 4:15

But let none of you suffer as a murderer, or as a thief, or as an evildoer, or as a busybody in other men's matters.

What is a busybody? In this passage, she is a woman who delights in other people's business. Instead of being focused on her own home, her own duties, her own family, the busybody is interested in everyone else's business. A busybody is "busy" gathering and passing on information. Of course, saying these things is sinful, but knowing them may be equally sinful.

Let's back up and examine how a woman becomes a busybody. First, she must learn idleness, as our text says. But how does a woman learn idleness? The image seems contradictory! I suggest that it is learned by studiously avoiding the duties God has laid out for her. The budding busybody must shirk her domestic duties for the more pleasant task of "visiting."

The woman Paul describes is wandering about the neighborhood. It is far easier to leave unfinished duties behind than step over them. The women the busybody visits can't see her laundry pile or the dirty kitchen floor. As the busybody wanders from house to house, she is far from idle: she is busy gathering information about everyone else's affairs.

Does the modern busybody wander from house to house? You bet. She goes here for coffee and there for lunch. She's charging around town, dropping in and checking up. The news gathered at stop one is repeated with relish at stop two. This also provides her with lots of prayer requests for Bible study or prayer meeting.

Of course, the modern busybody is not restrained if she doesn't have the means to wander about town. She has a more convenient method - the telephone. The modern busybody can be very "busy" on the phone for hours a day. This sort of idleness may produce weariness, but it doesn't produce the fruit God requires. A woman's God-given duties must necessarily be neglected to carry on such extensive visiting.

How does the busybody conduct her visits? She asks many questions and is a keen listener. She asks questions that are meddlesome and interfering. But she seldom gives offense because she seems so genuinely interested. No detail is insignificant for her. She delights in passing on "tasty morsels" and offers much information (about others) without being asked. Since her head is so full of "other people's matters," much of what is fact and what is hearsay is easily blurred. Now she has become not only a busybody, passing on the "news," but a gossip passing on rumors.

Meanwhile, is the laundry done? Is dinner planned? Can she really afford all this time?

A few cautions come immediately to mind. First, ask yourself if you are a busybody. IF YOU ARE WORKING HARD AT HOME FAITHFULLY DOING YOUR GOD-GIVEN DUTIES, THEN YOU WILL HAVE LITTLE TIME FOR SUCH FOOLISH BEHAVIOR. Nevertheless, recall your recent conversations.

Have you been too involved in "other people's matters"?

Do you ask questions that are really not your business?

Do you pass on information about other people's affairs?

Do you delight in being the first to know and the first to tell?

Second, do you have a friend who is a busybody? Take care. You may be drawn into her bad habits. Don't listen to her repeat all the news. Excuse yourself from inappropriate conversations.

Do you have a regular group you meet with to "visit" and fellowship? Is the conversation often about other people? Perhaps you should withdraw from such a group.

Finally, if you know someone to be a busybody, keep your distance. Be careful what you tell her. Assume that everything you say will get around the community. That should motivate you to exercise discretion. Be careful what you say, especially about your husband. Be sure your comments are always respectful and kind and God honoring.

That sort of news isn't nearly as much fun to pass on.

Author Unknown

Cherish Your Husband Carefully

Note: Around the year 1393, an elderly citizen of Paris married a girl of fifteen, who was an orphan from another region. An older gentleman marrying a young bride was not unusual during this time, but she was concerned that she had no experience running a home. So he wrote this treatise of moral and domestic instruction for her, so she could do him credit if she were to remarry after his death. This is one of the examples of his instruction.

Dear sister, if you have another husband after me, be aware that you must take very good care of his person. For generally when a woman has lost her first husband and marriage, it is hard for her, depending on her social status, to find a second who is to her liking, and she remains forsaken and helpless for a long time, and even more so when she loses the second. Therefore, cherish your husband’s person carefully.

I entreat you to keep his linen clean, for this is up to you. Because the care of outside affairs is menacing work, a husband must look after these things, and go and come, run here and there in rain, wind, snow, and hail - sometimes dry, sometimes sweating, other times shivering, badly fed, badly housed, badly shod, badly bedded - and nothing harms him because he is cheered by the anticipation of the care his wife will take of him on his return - of the pleasures, joys, and comfort she will provide, or have provided for him in her presence: to have his shoes off before a good fire, to have his feet washed, to have clean shoes and hose, to be well fed, provided with good drink, well served, well honored, well bedded in white sheets and white nightcaps, well covered with good furs, and comforted with other joys and amusements, intimacies, affections, and secrets about which I am silent. And on the next day fresh linen and garments.
Indeed, dear sister, these favors cause a man to love and desire the return home and the sight of his good wife, and to be reserved with others. And so I advice you to comfort your second husband on all his homecomings, and persevere in this.
Also keep peace with him. Remember the country proverb that says there are three things that drive a good man from his home: a house with a bad roof, a smoking chimney, and a quarrelsome woman. Dear sister, I beg you, in order to preserve your husband’s love and good will, be loving, amiable, and sweet with him. Do for him what the good, simple women of our country claim people have done to their sons when they are enamored elsewhere and they cannot get them back...

...Dear sister, I pray you to bewitch and bewitch again the husband who you will have, preserve him form a badly covered house and a smoky chimney, and be not quarrelsome with him, but be sweet, amiable, and peaceful. Mind that in winter he has a good fire without smoke, and that he is well couched and covered between your breasts, and there bewitch him.
From: “A Mediaeval Home Companion: Housekeeping in the 14th Century” translated by Tania Bayard

Marriage ABC's

Adaptability - Cultivate a taste for each other’s interests.

Belief - Trust one another.

Children - Be of one mind on the subject.

Devotion - Don’t be sparing with love.

Entertainment - Keep each other amused and interested.

Finesse - Handle each other with tact.

Generosity - Don’t be stingy with love or money or praise.

Health - Keep it as well as you can and don’t talk about your symptoms.

Interests - Enter into everything the other does.

Jokes - Laugh at ‘em.

Kindness - Never fail to show each other tenderness and sympathy.

Love - Never let your supply run low.

Money - Agree before marriage about the division of the family income.

Need - Of each other. Make yourself a necessity to your mate.

Observation - Notice when the wife has a new gown or the husband looks particularly spick and span.

Politeness - Treat each other as courteously as you would strangers.

Quiet - Keep a peaceful home.

Respect - Show deference to each other’s opinions and intelligence.

Sportsmanship - Take marriage on the chin and come up smiling.

Tenderness - Be all heart to your husband or wife.

Understanding - Enter into the thoughts and feelings of your mate.

Virtue - No philandering on the side.

Willingness - Both husband and wife be willing to help each other pull their weight back in the boat.

Xtra attention - Especially when one is downhearted or sick.

Yes - Flattery is the oil that lubricates the domestic machine.

Zero - Your marriage will never be zero if you follow these rules.

*From the Cameron Collegian, May 16, 1945, p. 2

A Mother's Prayer

A Mother's Prayer

Dear Lord, it's such a hectic day, With little time to stop and pray,
For Life's been anything but calm, Since You called me to be a mom -
Running errands, matching socks, Building dreams with matching blocks,
Cooking, cleaning and finding shoes And other stuff that children lose,
Fitting lids on bottled bugs, Wiping tears and giving hugs,
A stack of last week's mail to read - So where's the quiet time I need?
Yet, when I steal a moment, Lord, Just at the sink or ironing board,
To ask the blessings of Your grace, I see then, in my small one's face,
That You have blessed me all the while-
And I stoop to kiss... That precious smile.

Source Unknown