“We hear that some among you are idle and disruptive. They are not busy; they are busybodies.” (2 Thessalonians 3:11 NIV)
Busybodies aren’t busy; they’re idle and disruptive.
My mom always used to say, “Idle hands are the devil’s workshop.” She wasn’t lying. The root word for “busybody” is periergos. According to Vine’s Greek New Testament Dictionary: “some who are not busied in their own business, but are over busied in that of others.” Focusing on other people’s lives means busybodies don’t have to focus on the truth of their own lives.
Taking a meal to someone going through a difficult time is different from popping over with juicy gossip to stir up trouble. Busybodies aren’t doing anything productive. Instead, mayhem follows after them, simply because they create it.
Busybodies requires boundaries.
Identifying who the busybodies are in your life protects you from their manipulations. God help you if its a neighbor. When we were first married, I had a busybody neighbor. They start subtle, just a friendly, “Hello.” Next thing you know, they think they live in your house. Learning to set boundaries in that relationship was educational for me. We are still good neighbors, but the limit is clear of what is “too much.”
Identifying the line in the sand is what boundary setting is. As I’ve worked with people in different capacities, all different ages, everyone wants to know the limit. When we started our fall tennis classes this year, the date coincided with the first day of school. Every kid who came was wound up, ready to test limits. Once they know what they are, the rest of the classes go well. Establishing boundaries smooths the journey.
Jesus set boundaries. He withdrew from crowds when He needed time with God:
“Yet the news about him spread all the more, so that crowds of people came to hear him and to be healed of their sicknesses. But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed.” (Luke 5:15-16 NIV)
We need to know who the busybodies are in our lives so we can set the appropriate boundaries. And we have to understand; sometimes we’re the busybodies. Instead of focusing on the things in our own life that need work, we focus on other people’s faults. Developing a relationship with God will help keep your focus on the right things. No one’s marriage is more important than yours. No one else’s family is more important than yours. Prioritize your relationships to guard against becoming a busybody.
One common way people prioritize a Christ-follower’s relationships is with JOY: Jesus, Others, You. Husband, family, friends are how I prioritize “Others.” Not every relationship is the same; prioritizing helps keep perspective.
Don’t let people’s idleness and disruption distract you from your priorities.
Question of the Day:
What busybody do you need to set boundaries for today?