Why Are You All Up in My Business?
Posted by June 6, 2011on
Some things are none of our business, but sometimes we need to get to know someone else’s business in order to really help and show we care.
One day one of our neighbors said something that I had heard before but not quite with such emphasis. She made a reference to her job and how people were meddling in her business. What she said was, “People are always up in my business.”
As I got to know her better, and after hearing her use the phrase in different situations, I would kid her by starting my conversation with, “I don’t mean to be all up in your business but. …” She would often reply that she did not mind me being in her business.
Our brother’s and sister’s keeper
For a spiritual body of believers, being “all up in” another person’s business can take on a different meaning. It can reflect being our brother’s keeper and having outgoing love and concern. Is it possible to admonish a sister or brother in the faith without being in her or his business? Is it possible to extend your hand to the poor, encourage others or be a good listener without being in their business?
At church we might decide to fill a bag with food or give money to someone who seems to be in need. These are good deeds, but perhaps if we got to know the person better we would find a more needed way to help. Instead of giving the person a fish, we might find the person wants us to help teach him or her to fish.
What about Titus 2? In this chapter Paul instructs older women to teach younger women “to love their husbands, to love their children, to be discreet, chaste, homemakers, good, obedient to their own husbands” (verses 4-5). It sounds like he is instructing the older women to, in a loving way, get into the younger women’s business.
Not being busybodies
There is a great difference between being concerned for someone’s interests and being a busybody. I realized that my dear neighbor was referring to people who are busybodies (2 Thessalonians 3:11).
The Webster’s New World Dictionary defines a busybody as a meddler in the affairs of others. In other words, a busybody is someone who gets in someone’s business for personal gain, such as to spread the information through gossiping. Other slang terms for being a busybody are “snooping” or “digging.”
The godly way of getting into someone’s business is with wisdom, love and outgoing concern for the person. It should be done to encourage, not to criticize or put down. We should also pray that our efforts would be received in the manner that they are intended.
In our society, people who want to know the latest gossip tend to want to hang around busybodies. No one is being restored or spiritually nourished in this situation. No one has to change.
On the other hand, to truly reach out to someone in the biblical way (Philippians 2:3-4; Colossians 3:16-17; 1 Thessalonians 5:14-15), which can involve a little of “getting into their business,” is risky. It could be met with, “It’s my business and my life, so back off.” Busybodies love this attitude because they don’t want to see change. They want to continue their destructive job. If there’s change, what’s a busybody to do? But a caring Christian wants to see change and growth.
“Wherever you go, I will go”
The book of Ruth presents a fine example of a daughter-in-law who also became a friend to her mother-in-law. When their husbands died, Ruth, Orpah and Naomi came to a difficult crossroad in their lives. Naomi asked her daughters-in-law to go back to their own families. Naomi, depressed, having lost her husband and two sons, was ready to go back alone to her own land and live the difficult life of widowhood.
Both daughters-in-law wept for Naomi. Orpah eventually went on about her own business, back to her own land, but Ruth decided to stay with Naomi.
Ruth said: “Entreat me not to leave you, or to turn back from following after you; for wherever you go, I will go; and wherever you lodge, I will lodge; your people shall be my people, and your God, my God. Where you die, I will die, and there will I be buried. The LORD do so to me, and more also, if anything but death parts you and me” (Ruth 1:16-17).
When Naomi saw that Ruth was going to stay up in her business, she stopped speaking. Naomi could have said, “Wait a minute, time out; just go and stay out of my business!” Instead she considered Ruth and accepted her kindness.
Ruth took a risk. She was willing to make Naomi’s life better at the risk of not knowing what more she, herself, could be losing. She was showing unconditional love for Naomi. Ruth was determined to stay with Naomi to whatever end.
Ruth 3:11 states that eventually all the people of Boaz’s town (Boaz was Naomi’s relative whom Ruth eventually married) knew that she was a virtuous woman. Naomi had a hand in grooming Ruth for marriage and no doubt played a role in grooming her to be the virtuous woman that she had become.
There was so much gained, all because of Ruth’s willingness to reach out and Naomi’s acceptance. Naomi’s joy was restored. Ruth’s life was reformed by embracing the true God, which prepared her for marriage to a respectful, godly man.
We, too, can help restore others or make a difference in their lives if we love them enough to get up in their business and see them through until the end.
Gloria serves with her husband, Todd Carey, pastor of the Williamsburg, Virginia, and Delmar, Delaware, congregations of Church of God, a Worldwide Association. They have two sons, Justin and Bronson.