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
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It is interesting that the sins of 1 Pet 4:15 go along with the thief in Jn 10:10 who comes to steal, kill, and destroy. Mental meddling can evolve into attitudes, judmental comments, and even control issues.
This morning I was just talking with someone about my life as a teenager where my mom and step-dad went to church Sunday morning, Sunday night, and Wednesday night, and I decided that God didn’t exist because no one seemed to care about all the violence on Sunday afternoons and other times. Fortunately, God showed me later. There is something about evil and spriritual warfare out there. There is something about a lot of praying – and asking people how they are and what they think and what they hope. Especially children, they don’t know how to ask for help. If they grow up in violence, they don’t know what to do. When my brother was 12, he decided he was grown and tried to protect my mom. People may think they are meddling, but maybe they need to do a little research and come alongside. The thief comes to kill and to steal and to destroy, but Jesus (and we the church as his his arms and hands and feet) have come to give life and to declare this to the powers of darkness.