Most of us avoid gossip and slander, yet I wonder how many of us mentally trespass in other people’s affairs without ever speaking a word. Living as a mental busybody happens when our inner monologue takes us into areas that are none of our business. Suffering is the result.
“But let none of you suffer as a murderer, a thief, an evildoer, or as a busybody in other people’s matters” (1 Peter 4:15 NKJ). Interesting—a busybody is grouped with murderers, thieves and evildoers. Yep, I can see how that might cause some suffering.
I am responsible for me, not you. So tension, stress, and suffering arrive when I am being a busybody with my thoughts—mentally living outside of what is my own responsibility and business. When I think, “You should go to church, he is not listening to me, she is being irresponsible,” I am out of my arena of responsibility and into someone else’s business. When my thought life is consumed with how wrong I am being treated or what someone else should or shouldn’t be doing, then I am being a mental busybody.
All of my thoughts concerning other people may be true; however I have no control over other people. I cannot change people. I have a hard enough time changing me. This doesn’t mean that I condone or approve of other people’s choices. What it means is that what they do, or don’t do, is only under their own control. So why am I wasting brain cells thinking about something that I have no control over?
Byron Katie makes an interesting statement in her book, Loving What Is, “If you are living your life and I am mentally living your life, who is here living mine? We’re both over there. Being mentally in your business keeps me from being present in my own.”
Tune into your self-talk and see what percentage of your day is wasted living someone else’s life instead of your own. Do you suffer as a mental busybody?
In Him together, Susan Gaddis