America’s Princess Alice

America’s Princess charmed the world and alarmed her more famous father. She was so popular the press could not write enough stories. She was Teddy Roosevelt’s firstborn and 17 years old when he became president. “Princess Alice” led the largest diplomatic congressional delegation ever to southeast Asia in 1905. It was estimated more than a thousand people tried to get a glimpse of her on her wedding day in 1906. She married a much older congressman who became Speaker of the House a few years later. She dined with the kings and queens of Europe as if she was the head of the United States.  She was beautiful, scandalous, and bitter. She rose to the top of Washington D.C.’s high society, where she spent the rest of her life hosting dinner parties and wielding her power.  Alice Roosevelt Longworth famously said, “If you can’t say something good about someone, sit right here by me.” Gossip was her weapon of choice and she used it with fierceness. She delighted and decimated the most powerful until her death in 1980.

Gossip is still the weapon of choice for many. The old days of the newspaper Gossip Columnists have been replaced by the relentless quest on every form of media to find the dirt, the unfortunate phrase, and the hypocritical dealings of anyone, anywhere. Gossip is rooted in bitterness and anger. (I am treading lightly here, not wanting to over psychoanalyze.) Princess Alice lost her mother at 2-days-old. She was sent away to be raised by relatives. She returned “home” to a stepmother and the birth of other children. A brother was killed in WWI, her father died shortly after her brother. And the sadness of her life goes on and on. All of us have a bitter root of sin and pain lurking within us. Gossip is a way of rejoicing in others’ miseries. Gossip is a way to make other people pay for our own sins and disappointments. A bitter life, even with the trappings of success and influence, can lead to a habit of gossip, or other destructive addictions, to distract us from ourselves. There is a better way to live.

The bitter, or poisonous, root that is within us is the pain of unforgiven sin. The author of Hebrews 12:15 admonishes us to accept the grace of God’s merciful forgiveness; to confess our anger and pain to God for not fixing our life like we wanted it; and embrace the love of Jesus who has already paid for our sins with His death on the Cross. 

Keep healthy. Pray mightily. Enjoy your life today. Beware the bitter root. And let’s continue to experience the love and power of God together.

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