Stop trying to protect, to rescue, to judge, to manage the lives around you . . . remember that the lives of others are not your business. They are their business. They are God’s business . . . even your own life is not your business. It also is God’s business. Leave it to God. It is an astonishing thought. It can become a life-transforming thought . . . unclench the fists of your spirit and take it easy . . . What deadens us most to God’s presence within us, I think, is the inner dialogue that we are continuously engaged in with ourselves, the endless chatter of human thought. I suspect that there is nothing more crucial to true spiritual comfort . . . than being able from time to time to stop that chatter . . .I got a call from an acquaintance the other day, and he was complaining about one of our fellow acquaintances that we knew. “I can’t understand how he can afford to buy a new car every three years, and how he has a house on the lake and takes his family to Europe every other year.” It was a rather odd question that I didn’t know the answer to, so I simply said, “Heck, I don’t know.” And, I added, “Why would you care?” His response was classic, if not disappointing: “Because I want to know!!” So I simply suggested that he call him to find out. “I knew you would be no help! I’m gonna find out what’s up with this!” And that was the end of that phone call.- Frederick Buechner, Telling Secrets, 1991
Now I don’t know if he proceeded to call others to ask the same question, or if he was going to hire a private detective. But what I do know is that he was consumed with knowing someone else’s business. I’m fairly sure it also falls under the headings of envy and covet, and perhaps gossip. I am sure I can be equally guilty of any of those things as well.
The book I quoted from is from a series of books Buechner wrote that were autobiographical. Buechner’s father committed suicide when he was young, and he later struggled in helping a daughter who had anorexia. He found that he had his own demons to confront without worrying about others around him. God would have us be concerned about our own business, rather than the business of others. It doesn’t mean we isolate ourselves from the world, but it does mean that any “fixing” that happens is because God fixes, heals, and metes out justice.
Instead of talking and pointing the finger, let us simply listen and receive the grace of Jesus. It is sufficient!