As I walked up to unlock the gate one morning for an expected visitor, a donkey and a cow stood just across the west fence. The donkey evidently saw a meal on the hoof, walked up to the cow and started chewing its left ear. The cow was not pleased with the situation and turned around. So the donkey started chewing its right ear. The cow yanked its head away and trotted off, with the donkey trailing behind. As soon as the cow stopped, the donkey headed straight for her head and grabbed an ear again. Once again the cow turned around only to have the other ear chomped on. She took off again. I watched this for nearly five minutes before the cow finally headed for the fencerow and quite purposefully stuck her head in a bush.
The donkey tried to get to an ear and found himself struck in the face by the limbs and branches of the wild myrtle and unable to get to the cow’s ears. I am afraid I could not help myself—I laughed out loud and cheered for the cow. After a few minutes, the donkey gave up and left, trotting across the field straight for another cow, braying loudly as he went. I had to go about my own business then, but I assume that cow had success as well since, while I still see the outlines of ribs and spines, I have yet to see any of those animals earless.
Sometimes some braying donkey of a human comes along and tries to chew on our ears. I am afraid that too often we let him when we should be turning aside and, if he is persistent, finding a bush to stick our heads into. As long as there is a market for gossip and slander, there will be people to fill the need, and when we listen we are no better than they because we find pleasure in their sin.
Gossip can accomplish a lot, and none of it good. It can ruin friendships, break up families, divide churches, and permanently stain reputations. It has been going on since Satan, the “slanderer,” told Eve that God was just a selfish tyrant who did not want to share. Look where that got all of us.
Today, when someone comes to you with the latest “dirt,” find a bush and stick your head into it. Don’t let that person chew on your ears. Sooner or later he will get the message and move on.
He who goes about as a tale-bearer reveals secrets; therefore company not with him who opens wide his lips. Prov 20:19.