Our neighbour was a busy farm wife with hundreds of tasks awaiting her attention. She received no monetary recompense for teaching a batch of smart-aleck school girls. She didn't even have a child of her own to benefit from the 4-H club. She deserved our gratitude, not our ridicule.
The Bible is rife with instructions to guard our speech. James 3:8, Matt 12: 36-37, Ephesians. 4:29. 1 Peter 3;10, Ps 34:13, to reference a few.
As writers, I think we need to keep those warnings in mind. Whether we write for a Christian market, or the general market, we write from a Christian world view. Of course we want realistic characters, we want villains and we want to speak into the world around us, but we can make sure that our villains are not heroes and our heroes are not villains. The entertainment world has blurred that line so much it is often unrecognizable. A protagonist with a foul tongue, is not a hero, in my view. A character who indulges in spiteful gossip is not a heroine -- she is a flawed character who needs to be redeemed. That would make a good story, don't you think?
Malicious talk is ungodly, it is damaging to the community and it is hurtful to the victim. What I realized, as I rolled out pie crust, some fifty years later, is that a nasty tongue is harmful to the speaker as well. That incident has stuck in my mind all these years, and my memory of my school chum has been tarnished forever by her unkind words.
I remember telling my pal to hush lest she be heard. I wish I had told her to hush because she was doing wrong. Col 3:16.
The characters in our books should do no less.
Alice Valdal lives in beautiful British Columbia,
Visit her at www.alicevaldal.com or at facebook.com/#!/alice.valdal.5 Canada, where harvest time has come early. As well as pies, she's making jams, jellies, relish, . . .