“Now, that’s the tea!” I have often heard these words spoken by my two teenage daughters. At first, I thought they were referring to the letter, “t.” Then, I asked its meaning, and one explained, “You know, It’s finding out the whole story.” To me, tea is a fancy word for gossip. You can apparently “spill tea,” ”get tea,” or “give tea.” The Urban Dictionary explains that this slang comes from the southern culture of women who gathered in the afternoon to drink tea and gossip.
So if you find yourself in a conversation when others say, “That’s the tea!” what would you do?
- Do you respond by “spilling tea,” especially if someone confided something? Is it wise to repeat this to others?
- Do you “get tea” by joining in a conversation where others are talking about someone, or do you walk away?
- Do you “give tea” by starting gossip based on something heard, yet unsure of its truth?
In the end, none of these are uplifting to anyone, including ourselves. I recently read how some Christians will disguise gossip as a prayer request like saying, “Pray for ____. She is going through a difficult time with _____.” You can fill in the blanks, and may have heard this. Yes, it sounds noble, but if the individual spoken about isn’t aware you are making this a prayer request, or simply did not ask for prayers, then, to me, it falls under this category of “tea.”
There are so many scriptures that point us to the power of our words. One in particular is from Ephesians 4:29, which states: “Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers.”
This verse is the antithesis of “tea” as it is defined in our culture today. The words we choose are very powerful. They can edify or tear down. Since I teach young children as part of my occupation, I have seen firsthand how, when positive words are spoken to them, they perk up. However, when negative words come their way, their shoulders shrink and their heads go down.
In a recent training, we were reminded of the power of our words in viewing this video, and how we can say the same thing but in a different way, yielding positive results. It only takes approximately one minute to watch, and its message is very powerful.
So, if you find yourself in a conversation with “tea spillers, getters, or givers,” think whether what will come out is edifying or shows grace. Don’t disguise “the tea” as something proper, but embrace the scripture, and you will be sure to speak words of grace and truth.
This article has undergone ministry review and approval.